Link

FALLING IN LOVE WITH FALL

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Perhaps no one loves the changing of the seasons more than I.  The smell of the crisp leaves burning to an ash from your neighbors’ yard, the crunching of the dried fallen leaves under-foot as you kick-step your way down a winding path that is littered with Autumns’ foliage.  Also, the chill in the air that signals to all, that winter is soon to make its  d’ebut into the year.  As this time comes near many of us query to oneself, “why do we get or are so blessed with this bounty of colors?”  I am sure that most of us have learned while in Sabbath School, that God created the earth and all that is therein… But still how does it happen, through what wonderous of creation and  science.

As I am have learned (and I am sure you did too), in Grammar School your teacher taught you that “leaves make food for the trees”.  Then some kid in class probed “O’kay, but why are leaves green sometimes and change colors later?  Another student analyzed, with the mind of only a 7 year-old could,  and queried, “is it because they have finished feeding the trees?”.   The teacher would give a small grin and tilt her head and responded to us, “not quite; but the leaves that do change colors in the fall, do so because of a chemical called “chlorophyll”.  Then as the teacher peered into our inquisitive faces, she knew she captured our interest, and further taught that “chlorophyll is the pigment that turns the green leaves their green color AND makes food for the trees,  during the Spring and Summer the leaves of trees are able to receive more light because the days are longer; then later chlorophyll begins to disappear;  and during the Fall-when the days become shorter, they get less. light…and this is how we get the other colors:  yellow, brown, orange and red.  Our teacher went on to state that “these colors where always there during the summer; but the green covered them up!  Of course, as a child, I thought that my Teacher, next to my mother, must me the smartest person in the whole world! LOL! 

However, if my small trip down Memory Lane, did not help you; here is a poster I found that may help you understanding why we get these beautiful colors in the Fall or Autumn.

FYI:   “According to Wikipedia, Autumn is is one of the four temperate seasons. Autumn marks the transition from summer into winter, in September (Northern Hemisphere) or March (Southern Hemisphere) when the arrival of night becomes noticeably earlier…According to United States tradition, autumn runs from the day after Labor Day (i.e. the Tuesday following the first Monday of September) through Thanksgiving (i.e. the fourth Thursday in November), after which the holiday season that demarcate the unofficial beginning of winter begins..”

YKSD Physical Science Chapter 6 Introduction, “How Matter Changes

(ykonline.yksd.com)

Simple right, or not so simple…well to educate you more. now some Hight School stuff, which I shall attempt to make it as simple as possible.  You heard the term “the darker the berry the sweeter the juice, well there is something to that because sweetness means sugar, and sugar means photosynthesis.   Darker leaves and fruits have more sugar and thus more process of photosynthesis.

In photosynthesis there are three distinct phases. These phases include receiving light, converting it into  nutrients and releasing waste products back into the atmosphere.  According to Dictionary .com, photosynthesis is the complex process by which carbon dioxide, water, and certain inorganic salts are converted into carbohydrates by green plants, algae, and certain bacteria, using energy from the sun and chlorophyll.

1.   Receiving Light:  In the first phase of photosynthesis, a plant absorbs ambient light. The amount of light the plant can absorb depends on its  pigmentation; darker colored plants can absorb more light.

Read more:  Explain the Three Stages of Photosynthesis | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/facts_7598064_explain-three-stages-photosynthesis.html#ixzz28uqQk5oj

2.  Converting it into nutrients:  In the second phase of photosynthesis, a plant converts absorbed light into  chemical energy.  According to David Clark, professor of Microbiology at Southern Illinois  University, plants facilitate a chemical reaction involving light, soil  nutrients and water during this phase that includes splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen atoms.

3.  Releasing waste product back into the atmosphere: In the third phase of photosynthesis, a plant takes carbon dioxide, or CO2, from the atmosphere to aid in the chemical reaction.  Light is not necessary for this process, known as CO2 reduction, and  this phase leads to the production of carbohydrates.  The plant releases a  byproduct, oxygen, back into the atmosphere as waste.

FYI:  The chemical process for photosynthesis: 6 CO2 + 6 H20 + (light energy) + C6H1206 +  602

Photosynthesis means “putting together with light.” In photosynthesis, plants  use the energy of the sun, water and carbon dioxide from the air to make their own food, which they use to grow. In the process, they release oxygen, which is  part of the air we breathe in, as well as sugar, which is the plant’s  food.  Photosynthesis is vital for all living things by maintaining the oxygen level of  the atmosphere.   So take a deep breath! (lol)!

Read more:  Explain the Three Stages of Photosynthesis | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/facts_7598064_explain-three-stages-photosynthesis.html#ixzz28ur0GIgf

Leaves on plants and trees can’t change color unless they are exposed to light. Choose a tree with large leaves that changes color in the fall, such as maple  place it near a window that receives sunlight then place another similar in an area that does NOT receive sunlight…notice after a week the growth…that is why we should all take another deep breath and be thankful we have trees with leaves.

Autumn leaves

All the science aside, we know that a leaf changing color is part of a chemical reaction.  Above is an example of how a leaf gradually changes its color from Green to Yellow, Orange, and Brown…then falls when dead and at its darkest color.

Varying fall temperatures and precipitation amounts affect the intensity of colors (Kate Smith).

Leaf color chart

FYI:   Leaves of many plants will vary significantly — from gold to orange to crimson — depending upon the ratio of carotenoids to anthocyanins in each leaf.  carotenoids (which produce yellow, orange and brown colors) and anthocyanins (which provide reds and purples) (syracuse.com).

Finally enough about biology, chemistry and all other sciences…lets get to STYLE;  and how it changes as the season changes…is that a science too!  During Fall you may notice certain things falling away as well as the leaves fall to the ground.  The end of summer signals a time to say good-bye to Tank Shirts, Shorts, and Flip-Flops….and hello to Sweaters, Long Pants, and Boots!  The great thing is that you are covered stylish and cute.  Also, time to take care of your skin and hair.

Falling in Love with your inner Fashionista

Fall is a wonderful season but it is a cooler season…therfore you got to get cool with your fashion!  As Fall falls away, we reflect on the season’s harvest of our lives.   As the leaves turns colors so does our wardrobe. The colors of our wardrobe change to deeper tones as well as autumn’s colors change for the season.   This is the time of the year where the root vegetables become more  abundant, with their substantial nourishment to replenish us from a summer of long sunny days and expansive activities.  Now we turn to indoor activities instead of those that relate strictly to outdoors.

Now is the season of our content and comfort…our comfy comfort that is…  Ladies can swaddle themselves in scarves, hug themselves in oversize sweaters, pull-overs and ponchos.

Blend the traditional Fall colors of  Midnight Black, Chocolate Browns, Smokey Grays and Dark deepest Blues with a POP of color to draw visual appear and flair (much like the photograph to your Right).

or…pair a bright colorful corduroy skinny pant with an oatmeal colored bulky Cable Knit Sweater like the one on the Right!

Whether you wear these bold tones with a Corduroy longer maxi skirt or with a Knit Mini with Bright Tights…this is the look to “fall” for…

…word on the street is…that you stay warm; but look hot in the Fall season.  Remember a woman does not have to show cleavage, legs or any kind of skin to be sexy; her self confidence, security in herself, and intelligence allows her to show that and more!  In other words do not confuse “sexy” with “slutty” (lol)…no one needs to see your boob tattoos–keep it under wraps like a gift (lol).

black, blonde, dark, fall 08, fashion, girl

Rock the look of a Cropped Jacket…whether it is corduroy, wool, or  leather… this look can imbue the colors of fall and elongates your torso (now shorties like me can appear leggy) lol!

whether you wear your cropped jacket with a bright skirt, blue denim or with Shorts & Tights, feel free to add accessories that pulls the look together.  For example a knit cap and scarf is not only whether appropriate; but fashion apropos!

So ladies head on out to T J Maxx, Target, Marshalls and The Rack®  and grab a corduroy Cropped Jacket, Dark-wash Pants, snuggly long scarf, and an oversized slouchy handbag…don’t forget a pair of Dark Brown tortoise-shelled pair of shades…now you got the look of Fall!

However, just before Fall, or pre-Fall sometimes called “indian summer”, you may still get away with cute sweaters with scarves,  gloves and hat to boot!  Just remember besides styling, staying warm should be your main objective.  Because smart and intelligent ladies dress warmly and care more about their health and less about having their chest on display—-but you can still do it with flair and pizzaz!

Think you have to be skinny to wear “Skinny Jeans”; don’t Fall for it…but rock it!

Great thing about Fall, if you are like me and not at your desired weight, Fall allows you to cover-up and “hide-out in the open” (lol)

Now, plus-size comes in cute Fall clothing too.  Psst…grab a flared leather skirt for all parties you plan to attend.  These skirts are so “in” and “hip” at the same time and can be paired with virtually any Top, Shirt. or Turtle-neck Sweater.  Lastly, “stand to attention” with the Military look–but rock it in a different color than green while making the other ladies “green with envy” because of your fall stlyle (lol)!

Grab a Fall fashion plaid shirt in several colors (slip on a lace body shaping tee with it to feminize the look)…and buy a sweater that has a modern construction like the one pictured to your Right.

Luckily accessories see no weight (lol)!

Just as there are colorful pops of color in the Fall…I will suggest to let your accessories pop too!

Large oversized Bags, Purses, Handbags  and Clutches are the look for the Fall season, and the reason:…where else can you store your extra tubes of lotions, creams,  lip balms and mittens, ear muffs, scarf and Hand Sanitizer!

Your handbag or purse does not have to be the only thing that POPS; but your footwear can too (wear this Fall looks above on a causal days with skinny jeans or pants).

…Or put your feet in a dressier shoe, one that fully covers your feet or strap on some boots!

…to heel or not to hell, that is the question….I will let you decide.  As for me being 5′ 3″ I need to heel (well a little heel about 2-3 inches of it)

One look that is in vogue are shoe boots…I suggest purchasing those with traction–since afterall…safety is always best!

Fall into an updated makeup look with vibrant & cool colors for the Fall season!

…bright and vibrant colors is beautiful on any and all skin tones and colors…therefore if you are “white” as a Snowflake to dark brown as a Hershey bar…you can rock the POP!

Just a suggestion…if you POP the Lip Color, you can go easy on the cheeks.  Remember the Lips needs to be at the center stage to truly POP!

However, I am an eye person and I know that the “eyes have it”.  Although the “smokey eye” is still in vogue–it is less smokey and has a bit of sparkle for the upcoming season of shine!

When smokes get in your eyes

FYI:   Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” is a show tune written by American composer Jerome Kern and lyricist Otto Harbach for their 1933 musical Roberta. It was sung in the original show by Tamara Drasin. It was originally recorded by Gertrude Niesen, on October 13, 1933. I remember listening to it sung by Nat “King” Cole (performed in 1946).

~~~~~~Evening Look~~~~~~~~~~~Daytime  Look~~~~~~~Shadow & Sm. Liner Brush

Here is step-by-step diagram on how to get that look…

(glam s.c.a.m. beauty).

May I suggest using quality products like “Nars” or “Bobbi  Brown”.  You can find these great Fall colors for a great price at Sephora®!  Using quality brands allow the look to last longer and not absorb so quickly in your skin as the evening goes into night!

If you have almond-shaped eyes…lucky you–if not–time to do make-up tricks to “get it got it”!

TIP the Nail tip with saturated colors of Fall on a nude nail color bed…may I recommend a new brand I found “Essie ®“…loooooooove it!

This look is eye catching yet professional enough that will not offend the sensibility of your supervisor at work…she may even ask you…”where did you get that look?”

Tips for Fall: Don’t let your skin fall away from its summer glow!

As grasses and flowering plants contract, wither and drop their fruits so do we, we become a little dryer, our bodies’ conserve energy, require more and deeper rest.

1. Wear sunscreen every day :  Yes, in the colder seasons like Fall or Winter the sun is still out there; and although you may not be exposing as much to it as you would in summer, the dangers to your skin are still there (Yahoo).  A dermatologist, Dr. Jeanine Downie, says that: “You should be wearing an SPF 30 every day, not only to protect against skin cancer but to prevent fine lines, wrinkles, large pores, and uneven skin tone.”It is important not to “forget that applying sunscreen once a day is not enough you should reapply every couple of hours! (Perfect Locks)  Also, “Just because you may not be laying on the beach in the Caribbean it doesn’t mean you can forget the sunscreen for the next 6 months. Sunscreen is a daily essential, so don’t set it aside. (about.com Skin Care).

FYI: Despite the lack of sun some of us might be starting to experience, you still need to exercise caution when it comes to protecting your skin from UV rays.  Winter doesn’t necessarily signal a break from sun exposure, especially for those who exercise or work outdoors. UV rays penetrate through clouds and overcast skies, and reflect off waters, cement, sand, and even snow.  It is important to note that some of the most common sites of skin cancer lesions are the areas of the body that endure year round exposure, such as your hands, face, ears, and the left arm of drivers in most countries (some countries it is the right arm like our neighbors across the pond…e.g Great Britain).  Continue using SPF rated products (vashonorganics.com/education).

2. Body Care:  “You will want to find a shower gel that is “soap-free” as well as hydration.  In the Fall and Winter, I like to put away the gels and bring out a creamy body wash. (about.com Skin Care).  Summertime shower gels are fruity and sweet smelling and we love them.  However, the extra alcohol used to give these cleansers an aroma may be detrimental to your fall skin care. In Fall and winter use products that are gentle and without fragrance. For example, milk bath and creamy shower gels the work best during the colder seasons. Celebrate the season with skin care products that contain oatmeal or pumpkin in them (Yahoo).  “Ditch the soap. Fragrant soapy scrubs might feel (and smell) wonderful after a day at the beach, but they leave your skin dry. When Fall arrives, switch to a soap-free hydrating cleanser. It’s time to put away the gels and bring out the creamy body wash

TIP: Avoid baths and showers that are too hot, and cool the water before you get out. Your skin will retain more moisture this way and you won’t go through the temperature shock so much when you get out (beautytipsonline.com).

TIP: A lukewarm bath with oatmeal or baking soda, can help relieve skin that is so dry it has become itchy (webmed.com/health-beauty).

2.  Exfoliate regularly: The summer sun and chlorine may have left your skin feeling dry and flaky. Start the new season off with a full-body exfoliation session ( A Womans Health Magazine)   According to Dr. Fusco: “A good exfoliating agent will slough off the dull top layers, minimizing wrinkles, acne, and dry spots to reveal new, healthy, glowing skin.” You don’t have to exfoliate everyday- perhaps only 2-4 times a week.  “I think oily based scrubs are perfect for Fall and Winter because you are getting the exfoliating benefits with the extra bonus of hydrating oils. And when it comes to oily scrubs, the choices are endless! (about.com Skin Care).  Also, it will improve your skin as it brings healthier cells to the surface of your skin. Use an oil-based scrub instead of a salt scrub to protect your skin in the fall season. Avoid massaging your skin vigorously when exfoliating your skin (eCellulities.c0m).  It may look odd and gloopy, but an oily scrub is an excellent product to use for sloughing away dead skin cells and tiny bumps on your legs, arms and tushy.

TIP:  Avoid exfoliators with large crystals or chunks, as they are too abrasive. Use products with the tiniest beads possible to successfully exfoliate without destroying the surface of your skin (sheknows.com/beauty-and-style).

TIP:  Another tip to aid in the removal of toxins from the skin this Fall is to use an exfoliating loofah while bathing. Loofahs help to remove dead skin cells that accumulate on the skin’s surface, help to open your pores and can also increase blood circulation, all of which will aid in the faster elimination of toxins exiting through the skin’s surface (vashonorganics.com/education)

FYI:  Harsh soaps full of dyes and fragrance can often strip your skin’s essential oils, leaving your skin dry and cracked (vashonorganics.com/education).

3.   Keep it Moist:  Moisturize EVERYDAY I cannot stress this enough; if you want to keep dry skin at bay, you must hydrate your skin on a daily basis. The best time to apply your lotion is right after you have dried off after your shower or bath. Seal in the moisture that is already been absorbed into your skin ( A Womans Health Magazine).

3.   Switch from lotion to cream. Shower, dry and dress is the summer routine. For good Fall skin care that should change to shower, dry, moisturize and dress. Add plenty of moisture to your body every day (Yahoo) As the air becomes drier, your skin needs a thicker moisturizer. Creams provide a stronger oily barrier, which means they both reduce water loss from the outer layer of skin and provide hydration to this layer of skin at the same time (A Womans Health Magazine).

TIP: When you wash your face with a cream cleanser, you will not have to worry about it stripping the natural oils from your skin (voices.yahoo.com/tips).

4.     What you eat and drink influences the condition of your skin: It is a well-known fact that staying hydrated by drinking water can only do good things for your skin. What you may not know is that adding antioxidants to your skin care and diet will “will help to combat free radical damage, reducing fine lines, wrinkles, and inflammation,” says Dr. Jessica Wu. Eat brightly colored fruits, vegetables, and olive oil and use topical products that contain vitamin A (retinol), vitamin E, vitamin C, and coffeeberry on your skin. (perfect locks)

TIP: When you don’t drink enough water and fluid volume becomes diminished, the ability of the body to remove toxins through urination is also decreased. These toxins must then be eliminated in other ways such as through the skin. The increase in body toxin levels can also cause headaches and fatigue.  However, no matter how much water you drink, some toxins will still try to exit the body through the skin (vashonorganics.com/education)!

I read a great article that I will like to share and it reads: “To promote inner harmony and clear skin, the time of the autumnal equinox is a traditional time to adjust our dietary intake and pursue some form of internal cleansing with herbs, juicing, or modified fasting. Eliminating all sugar, wheat, dairy and fried foods for 2 or 3 weeks is very helpful for decongesting your system and cleansing and will noticeably increase your energy and sense of clarity. Drinking burdock (Arctium lappa) tea, an alterative and liver support, is noted for promoting clear skin. I have found Healthy Skin Tonic or Burdock-Red Root Compound very effective for general support of organs of elimination and lymphatic system cleansing. Taking elder flower (Sambucus nigra) tea helps support the skin’s elimination functions, helpful in preventing or eliminating papules, milia and retained sebum in the fall when we generally perspire less and there is contraction of the tissues. Keeping well hydrated internally and humidifying room air will help prevent the tendency to develop chapped skin and dry, uncomfortable nasal passages. Do keep exercising to keep your system from feeling sluggish – Tai chi or qigong are wonderful for staying energized and fit in the dark months (eco-beauty.com/skin-care-fall-winter).”  For more suggestions see “Autumn Health Tips at ElisonHaas.com website.

Because of the onset of dry Fall and Winter, don’t forget about your lips and skin around your eyes in your fall skin care regimen.  The delicate skin around your eyes can be impacted by Autumn and Winter dryness because they do not produce oil or moisture like the rest of the face, so  make sure you’re using a moisturizing eye treatment cream for the skin around your eyes. (Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6606899)

P.S. Don’t forget the Lips: Use Lip Balm. It’s good to use a lip balm with SPF as it will protect your lip from the sun, wind, and cold. Usually, the lip skin becomes chapped in colder months. By using a lip balm, you can easily avoid dry and chapped lips. “Use a non-petroleum based lip balm for best results (A Womans Health Magazine).

TIP: To remove any unwanted dry skin off of your lips, you can exfoliate them with your toothbrush when you brush your teeth.  In a pinch, add a dab of Vaseline to protect them (beautytipsonline.com).

TIP:  Good ingredients to look for in lip products are jojoba oil, shea butter, avocado oil, and mango oil. These moisturizing lipids can work wonders to keep your lips luscious  (vashonorganic.om/education).

P.S.  Don’t forget your Hands:  Dead give away of the cooler weather are hands with dry cracked cuticles.  And many times your regular hand cream isn’t heavy-duty enough to tackle those super dry cuticles.   But by investing in a cuticle oil,  you can quickly take care of the cracked skin and avoid that painful condition that is so wide-spread in the colder months.

TIP:  Simply apply oil onto your cuticles and rub in. Do this a couple times a week for best protection.  Be proactive in your nail care by apply a drop of cuticle oil to the nail beds and rubbing the oil into the cuticle at least once a week.

FYI: Hands that may have been damaged from UV rays this summer need extra care to stay soft and moist during the dry season .  Your hands also need special attention and specific products because the skin on the hands tend to be thinner than on the rest of your body, and is often exposed to more drying agents.

P.S. S.S.  Don’t Forget your Feet:  Repeat after me, “I will not let my feet go without proper care this Fall and Winter”.  Say it, and mean it.  Your feet are going to be stuck inside your boots and heals for months to come…no more freedom of the flip-flops,  and if you continue taking care of them and exfoliating them on a regular basis, you will have no problem popping back on your sandals when the time comes.

Plus, having nice feet just make you feel good, so grab a foot scrub and brush and keep it in your shower.  My all-time favorite is H2O Plus: Pumice Foot Scrub.  Scrub your feet 1-2 times a week and you will enjoy soft feet that will not  snag your blanket (lol).  Ouchie!

Oh yes Ladies and Gentlemen treat yourself to a Spa Treatment during the Fall, you and your body will thank me!!!  Your body needs to detox, de-stress, and it is deserving (lol)!

During the dry season of the Fall and Winter you may begin to notice not only a drying of your body; but that of your hair as well…and this can lead to shedding which means more hair is Falling out in the Fall.  Therefore you may want to change your Hair Care treatment like you change your products for your skin (afterall the scalp is skin too).  Rock a new look or Update your old look this Fall

…whether you add length for a longer style hitting your back or keeping it simpler with a just past shoulder length…

or even shagging it out to your neck or selecting a chic look shorter pulled back behind the ear

Hair can be used here to accentuate your gorgeous facial features, illuminate your skin color  and make you smile with approval when you look into the mirror!

MEN,  it is the season to PREP for the Fall PREPPY LOOK!

Now there is a look called “Urban Preppy”..it is has traditional tailored construction with a dash of cool.  Clean straight lines are in style…fabric with tweed, wool, corduroy, and leather.

 

Pull out of he back of your closet…or head out to T J Maxx, Marshall, Target or The Rack® purchase a Cotton button-down Shirt or a Cashmere Turtleneck, Wool Argyle Sweater or Chunky Cashmere Cardigan, Dark Wash Denim Trouser or Corduroy Pant,  Tweed or Houndstooth Jacket, and a Houndtooth scarf with a Leather Jacket or  Pea Coat.

The above is an example of the Argyle Pattern.  (Can be displayed in Pullovers and Socks).

Above is an example of the Houndstooth Pattern (Can be displayed in Jackets and Ties)

Above is an example of Tweed (Can be displayed in Coats and Jackets)

Above is an example of Corduroy (Can be displayed in Pants and Jackets)  Don’t forget the gold framed Aviator Shades or the iconic Tortoise-Shell Rayban® sun glasses to put the look in prospective.

Thank you to the influence of television programs/shows like “Mad Men” and Gossip Girls”; because no more sloppy looking sagging jeans that placed mens underwear on display and over-sized white t-shirts.  Now, men are dressing smart and dapper…so bye-bye super baggy & sagging low riding jeans “hello” Skinny or Straight pants.

FYI:   Sagging began in prison, where oversized uniforms were issued without belts to prevent suicide and their use as weapons. The style spread through rappers and music videos, from the ghetto to the suburbs and around the world.

Now, it is cool and laid back…and chilled out!  You can take this look from the College Campus to the Board Room!

don on a Driver style cap:                            cap it with a hunting-inspired Scottish Walking Hat

Harris Tweed Ivy Cap - Credit: MensHats.com                            Borsalino Casual Hat - Credit: DelmonicoHatter.com

..why not try on a Wetherby style hat:             or tip your hat with flair with a Fedora:

Still Life Wetherby hat - Credit: StillLifeNYC.com                               

Only men that are not afraid of looking good can pull off these looks…I find it reminiscent of the 1940s…..all the way smooth as jazz!

Fall Time: Things to do in the Fall without it being a season that is a total fail!

1. Read a good book or better yet “the” Good Book!

…no excuse you can now read a book on your tablet or a kindle®

FYI:  Non readers or poor readers often have low opinions of themselves and their abilities.  Feelings of isolation and have low self-esteem can surface.  As we live in an age overflowing with information, reading is the main way to take advantage of it.  “Reading, like no other medium, can transform your life in a flash, and you never know which book, at which time in your life, might be the one that rocks your world and inspires you to grow in ways you never thought possible.”  Also, another benefit of reading is that it  builds your vocabulary from book reading.  Further,  reading gives you an insight into the diversity of ethnicity of people, their customs and their lifestyles. You’ll become more aware about different places and their codes of conduct in those places.—Burke Hedges.

2. Start a Scrapbook or Create a “Vision Board”.

FYI:  Vision Board (similar to the one pictured above) is simply a visual representation or collage of the things that you want to have, be, or do in your life. It consists of a poster or foam board with cut-out pictures, drawings and/or writing on it of the things that you want in your life or the things that you want to become. The purpose of a vision board is to activate the law of attraction to begin to pull things from your external environment that will enable you to realize your dreams (By Tristan Loo).

3. Clean /and/or Organize a room in your house.

FYI:   It is said that “cleanliness is next to Godliness”, although this is NOT a direct quote from the Bible.  According to the fourteenth edition of ‘Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable,’ it is an old Hebrew proverb used in the late 2nd century by Rabbi Phinehas ben-Yair. First attested in the United States in the ‘Monthly Anthology and Boston Review’ . The proverb is found in varying forms.”  However, come-on you know that a clutter unkept house is akin to a clutter and unkept mind.  For example in you had a meeting with a lawyer and his or her office was cluttered and disorganized; would you be comfortable with him or her handling your concerns?  I think not.

4. Begin a Work-Out Program and Start Eating Healthier and Drinking more Water.

FYI:  According to studies from the Mayo Clinic ” if you are worried about heart disease? and are  Hoping to prevent high blood pressure? No matter what your current weight, being active boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol and decreases unhealthy triglycerides. This one-two punch keeps your blood flowing smoothly, which decreases your risk of cardiovascular diseases. In fact, regular physical activity can help you prevent or manage a wide range of health problems and concerns, including stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, certain types of cancer, arthritis and falls.”.

FYI:   Eat healthy to combat diseases like type 2 diabetes. Obesity is a major risk  factor in this disease. According to the American Diabetes Association’s  website, other complications affiliated with type 2 diabetes are heart disease,  blindness and kidney failure.  Decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes by consuming food and beverages that are  low in sugar. Eliminate food and drinks  made with high-fructose corn syrup. Substitute with herbal tea and water. These  healthy alternatives help lower calories and are refreshing. Also, eat salads,  raw or steamed vegetables, and whole grains.  Most healthy foods have low to no cholesterol. For instance, fresh fruit and  vegetables have zero cholesterol. According to the American Heart Association’s  website, high cholesterol raises the risk of heart disease. Your arteries may  slowly develop a buildup, which narrows the arteries. Narrowed arteries can lead  to a heart attack or stroke. An active digestive system is another reason healthy eating is important. Avoid  constipation by including whole grains, like whole-wheat bread and oatmeal for  fiber, in your daily eating plan. Other high-fiber foods include fresh fruits  and vegetables, as well as beans, such as kidney, black and pinto.

Read more:  Why Is Eating Healthy So Important? | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/about_4696584_why-eating-healthy-important.html#ixzz29CPRJEoZ

Being overweight can be an unpleasant and embarrassing experience. Unwanted fat  deposits on the thighs, stomach, and back may leave you feeling self-conscious  and depressed.

FYI:    How much water do you need to drink? At least twenty percent of the water you need comes from the foods you eat. The rest comes from the beverages you drink. Some experts believe you can estimate the amount of water you need by taking your weight in pounds and dividing that number in half. That gives you the number of ounces you may want to drink each day. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, you might want to drink at least 80 ounces of water or other fluids per day. Other factors include amount of physical activity and the climate where you are located.  The lungs, muscles, brain and blood are all composed of water and they must be  properly hydrated to ensure their functioning. Additionally, water is needed to  regulate body temperature.

Read more:  Why People Should Drink More Water | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/facts_6172398_people-should-drink-water.html#ixzz29CKYft9B

Discussing eating and drinking there are certain Foods and Drinks that are very complimentary to the Fall Season.

What is Falling into the Pot in the Fall Season!

Time to warm-up “ike the spy who came in from the cold”… may I suggest a Stew or Soup!!!

FYI:  The Spy Who Came in from the Cold is a 1963 Cold War spy novel by British author John le Carré. It has became famous for its portrayal of Western espionage methods.

Is Chili a stew or a Soup?  After doing a little research I discovered that Stews are heartier, thicker, and more flavorful than soups, with so many ingredients introduced; chili would have to be a Stew in my humble opinion.  Therefore, chillin’ with Chili can take off the chill of Fall (lol)!

I must confess after tasting “Turkey” Chili…I will never go back to beef (and of course swine or pig is out of the question).  Add to Turkey Chili, a sprinkle of 3 shredded Cheeses (namely Sharp Cheddar, Parmesan, and  Gruyère), a tablespoon of  finely chopped Scallion Onions, and a dollop of Crème Fraîche.

do not care for that fowl…then try Chicken…

White Chicken Chili Soup Recipe

                                                White Chicken Chili Soup

Ingredients for white chili soup:

1 pound boneless chicken breast

salt and pepper

2 tablespoons virgin olive oil

1 yellow onion diced,

4 garlic cloves diced,

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon anise seed

1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

3 15 ounce cans cannelloni beans

1 cup chicken broth

1 7 ounce can diced green chilis

1/2 cup whipping cream

1/4 cup dry white wine

shaved parmesan cheese

chopped cilantro

Instructions for white chili soup: 1. Rinse chicken pieces and remove skin. Chop into 1 inch size pieces. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 2. In a large pan….Saute onion olive oil along with the oregano, cumin, anise seed,and red pepper flakes until slightly softened. 3. Add chicken to the pan and saute for another 5-10 minutes. 4. Drain the juice from the cannelloni beans. Save 1/2 cup of the liquid from the beans. Add this liquid, beans, chicken broth, green chilis, and whipping cream to the pan. Simmer for 15 minutes on low heat. 5. If desired, top with shaved parmesan and chopped cilantro.

While on one of my vacations I visited France and visited my, then boyfriend’s family, his mother prepared a delicious Soup called French Onion Soup (the best I ever had)!

Yes underneath that crisp French Bread and Cheeses is a savory soup that is riddled with onions and other tasty seasonings..so eat it with a “Fork” on top than use a “Spoon” on bottom!

…and for dessert Fall into a pot of Chocolate Fondue…

FYI:  Fondue is Swiss in origin and is a baked soufflé-like dish of hot liquid in which small pieces of food (in this case fruits, cakes and marshmallows) are cooked or dipped: beef fondue; chocolate fondue.

…and it can be quite romantic too ( yet another method to stay warm in the chilly Fall season=Fondue>>>>>>just kidding I meant Romance)!

Now that we have discussed the Science, Skin Care, Fashion, and Dishes of the Fall season…we know it is a time of “coming to the end” as we will “lose an hour” (you remember daylight saving…fall backward and Spring forward),  we know that when coming to any “end” you should look back in reflection and reevaluate your past actions and decisions as you look forward to what is new!

The Beauty of Fall…allows one to easily fall in love with Fall!

So, as you walk through the Fall leaves, drink in the fresh crisp air, think not of chemistry; but of the wonderous of creation and of our God and His beautiful handiwork…think of Fall!!!!

Fall is a great time to settle back and reflect on your life!

Link

HONDURAS!

ahí los vidrios

Flying over the bluest blue oceans I was wondering where shall we land next; where should our next destination be now?…feeling a little homesick I decided to land in my home country—Honduras!  Afterall, should not the Pilot visit where she first took her scheduled flight!?!  I love Honduras and all the memories of childhood.  Nestled in my mother’s arms I felt the safety love and security which one feels as a child with loving parents.  Therefore there is little wonder why I long to revisit my homeland!  Oh how I hope, it will still be the beautiful land from which I remember as a child?  I hope it will.  As I search for the coordinates, the very name- Honduras- evokes memories of delicious foods, wonderful scenery, and loving family, friends and neighbors–I knew I must make this special visit meaningful.

First some facts about our destination to paradise.  Geographically, Honduras is at the heart of Central America, and is quite unique (other than being the birth place of the Pilot), it has both shores on the Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean.  Further, attributed to it uniqueness, Honduras has borders with three of its sister countries in Central America: Guatemala and El Salvador to the west, and Nicaragua to the southeast.  Also, it is the most mountainous country in Central America, and yet the only one without any active volcanoes.  Additionally, the Bay Islands of Honduras enjoy a privileged geographic location that puts them on the south-eastern end of the great Meso-American Barrier Reef,  which is the most bio diverse barrier reef in the World!  (travelpedia)

Honduras is home to a wide range of ethnic and indigenous peoples

As you view the old black and white photo pictured below, you can surmise that I do not appear to look like the phenotypical Spaniard.   It is important to learn that Honduras was home to several important indigenous cultures, most notably the Maya.  Although, much of the country was conquered by Spain, which introduced its now predominant language and many of its customs in the sixteenth century. It became independent in 1821 and has been a Republic since the end of Spanish rule. (wikipedia)

FYI: Maya a member of a major pre-Columbian civilization of the Yucatán Peninsula that reached its peak in the 9th century a.d. and produced magnificent ceremonial cities with pyramids, a sophisticated mathematical and calendar system, hieroglyphic writing, and fine sculpture, painting, and ceramics.

Further background of what makes Honduras so special.  During the first millennium, Honduras was inhabited by the Mayan civilization in the western part and other Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cultures in the rest. Columbus  (yes, “the” Christopher Columbus) first explored the country in 1502, and Honduras became a  Spanish Colony. Honduras, with four other Central American nations, declared its independence from Spain on September 15, 1821 to form a Federation of Central American states. In 1838, Honduras left the federation and became independent.

Over 90% of the seven million people in Honduras are mestizo.  This means that they have a mixed ancestry of Europeans and natives.  There are also 7 minority groups including native tribes and Garifunas, descended from African-Caribbean slaves.  The largest indigenous group is the Lenca tribe, known for their distinctive pottery. Many Honduras call themselves indios, or Indians.

Read more: Honduran Americans – History, The colonial era, The independent republic of honduras http://www.everyculture.com/multi/Ha-La/Honduran-Americans.html#ixzz26vrb7VIB

FYI: a person of racially mixed ancestry, especially, in Latin America, of mixed American Indian and European, usually Spanish or Portuguese, ancestry, or, in the Philippines, of mixed native and foreign ancestry.

IMG-20120915-00060.jpg

Interesting Basic Facts about our newest destination: HONDURAS

Official Name: República de Honduras
(It was formerly known as “Spanish Honduras” in order to differentiate it from British Honduras, which is now Belize)
Population: 7.5 million
Capital: Tegucigalpa
Area: 112,492 km² (43,433 sq miles)
Currency: Lempira (HNL)
National Holiday: 15th of September
Calling Code: + 504
Time Zone: GMT-6
GDP: Total – US$ 15.288 billion (2010)
GPD: Per Capita – US$ 1,912  (veinte mundos).

Basic facts are important to know when traveling, although you are a “tourist” you do not necessarily want to look and act like a tourist.  No problem since you will be traveling with a catracho!

A “catracho” is a Honduran. The expression comes from Nicaraguans mispronouncing the name of Honduran General Xatruch, who in the 1850s beat back the numerous attempts of a North American adventurer bent on colonizing Central America and turning it into a collection of slave states. His defeat was and continues to be a huge source of pride for Honduras. Well done, amigos! (Hungry Passport).

Now, how shall we navigate throughout this wonderland/homeland I have set down upon?!

It is true that Spanish is the official language of Honduras. Although Spanish is the primary language, English is spoken widely in the North and on the Bay islands of the coast of the Caribbean (and the Bay Island is where we shall be spending much of our time).  (“World Travel Guide”)

Other languages spoken:

  • There are 10 individual languages listed in Honduras. Some of the Amerindian languages include Garifuna, Miskito, Tol and Pech.
  • Bay Islands English– over 10,000 people speak an English-based Creole along the Caribbean shore of Honduras. It shares similarities with Belizean Creole language.
  • Arabic – there is a large Arabic population living in Honduras, most of them are of Palestine descent (over 150,000 inhabitants). They are fully integrated in the country and played an important role in the country’s economic development. Today there are over 40,000 Arabic speakers in the country.
  • Other important immigrant groups that have maintained their language are Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese) and Armenians.

Spanish dialects and variations:

  • The Spanish spoken in Tegucigalpa is the norm for Honduran Spanish; however this Spanish has many influences from more rural forms of Spanish due to strong migrations to the city.
  • Northern Honduran coastal Spanish has developed with influences from the British (that occupied the surrounding area), local tribes, as well as the large population of people of African descent. In some cases in the north, Spanish is only spoken as a second language.
  • Spanish in the interior of the country has a less pronounced accent. The aspiration of ‘s’ , for example, is less pronounced.
  • Honduras has bilingual (Spanish and English) and even trilingual (Spanish, English, German/Turkish)  schools and numerous universities.

These words are some slang words used in Honduras and therefore may be useful to know.  Some may also be used in neighboring El Salvador and elsewhere.

  • Bolulo – bread roll
  • Trucha or pulpería – corner shop
  • Relajo – mess
  • Jura – police patrol
  • Pisto -money
  • Birria – beer
  • Maje – dude
  • Cipote(a) – kid (male, when it ends with “e”; and female, when it ends with “a”)

With the largest region of tropical rainforest in the Northern Hemisphere, mango groves, beautiful beaches and coral reefs, Honduras has much to offer in natural beauty, other than the Pilot (lol).  Added to that is a rich cultural heritage of both native and Spanish influences, one that can easily see how Honduras is becoming an eco-tourism mecca. Known for being less westernized and commercialized than other Central American countries, like for example Costa Rica, Honduras is attracting those seeking a more authentic travel experience…like what we are seeking to discovery!

FYI: The term westernization means “to influence with ideas, customs, practices, etc., characteristic of the Occident or of the western U.S.”

In part because of the lack of Westernization, it may be more difficult to find eco, sustainable, or community based tours online before you arrive in Honduras.  Often the owners of hotels are able to help find local options…so no need for us to worry.  Below are a few of the different locations we shall visit while our stay in Honduras. (Honduras Wiki).

Since Honduras is a country of diversity,  depending on your tastes you can have a variety of experiences.  All locations below have the 3 lodging options that meet our needs for some of the most popular Honduran destinations: luxury, midrange, and budget.

Honduras is hot and humid almost year-round so bring a large selection of swim wear…and by the way get swimming lessons, if you are not able to swim.   Temperatures vary by altitude rather than season. The average high temperature nationwide is 32°C (90°F) and the average low is 20°C (68°F). Temperatures are coolest in mountain areas.

Where shall we go exactly…with so many choices?!

So, where shall we stay while on our visit, due to the fact that it has so many many choices depending on your taste…:

What is your flavor??…?

Do you want to lay out onto the white crystal-like  Beaches and Coasts located on the – Bay Islands, Cayos Cochinos, Roatan Island (where scuba-diving, coral reefs, fishing is preferred), and the Gulf of Fonseca.

Then when you grown weary of the Beaches, why not tarry in the Cities, Towns, and enjoy the regional folklore – Comayagua, Garifunda Communities, Tegucigalpa, La Ceiba, Trujillo  (local customs, museums, music, gastronomy abound).

But if you are open to adventure, thresh through the Lowland and Jungles – Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Cacao Lagoon, or Pico Bonito National Park (if you get a chance please be sure to visit the Parque Nacional Montana de Celaque has one of the highest mountains in Honduras and is home to a beautiful cloud forest. The small town of Gracias is about 6.5 km away from the park entrance….you will thank me).

FYI: A cloud forest is similar to a rainforest, but at high altitudes.

If your brain is what requires  stimulation, visit the Historical Heritage of – Copan, Omoa Fortress.

Lastly in you really want to see “what is up” climb unto the Highlands – Lake Yojoa, Celaque National Park, Ocotepeque (thermal baths, hiking, bird watching called ornithology…).

However our first visit should be the town where I was born, La Ceiba.  Why La Ceiba?…not only was I born there but; La Ceiba is a gateway to the Bay Islands and the Rainforest, also, La Ceiba is well known for its nightlife.

ROATAN  the largest of the three bay islands, Roatan is a short ferry ride from the main land.  The island offers a true Caribbean experience with snorkeling, diving, and fishing.

on my last visit to Roatan, what was most notably were the crystal clear waters…I explained in glee “I see fish people”

IMG_0092.jpg

wow, I was glad I got a pretty pedicure…LOL!

COPAN RUINAS Known as Xukpi in the Mayan Empire, Copan Ruinas is a popular tourist attraction in western Honduras. An easy 1 km walk from town brings you to the ruins where you can choose to take an organized tour.  I suggest booking a tour at your hotel or resort (even asking a nice waiter or waitress).

…From gorgeous reefs to verdant rainforest and ancient Mayan ruins, Honduras has awakens the adventure travellers desires. (Imagine Costa Rica, only quieter and cheaper.).  Roatan and Utila are two of the world’s top scuba destinations; so take a lesson before you book one of these excurions.  If you fly right into Roatan and staying on a resort, I wouldn’t hesitate to say you  are totally safe while on vacation; but lets keep it “Pilot smart”, here are a few TIPS:

  • Don’t flash jewelry, cellphones, watches or wallets.
  • Don’t hike alone in remote areas; as the Pilot always suggest Travel in Groups…especially with your friends.

Yes there is so much to do and so many places to visit within your visit…for example here are some of my TOP PICKS:

1.  LITTLE FRENCH KEY:  A private island retreat in Roatan island.  Both eco friendly and mystical, this place is built with kindness to the environment and people in mind, Little French Key is where you get back to your essence. Roatan is an uncommon place to rejuvenate physically, mentally and spiritually.

getlstd_property_photo

2.  SANDY BAY BEACH (where my dear sweet mother lived as a child) The property is unique to Roatan. Just off the main road to a private beach area. This area is part of the Roatan Marine Park preserve. The reef system parallels the white sand beach of Sandy Bay. The closest swim to a underwater ecological paradise teaming with tropical fish and corals. This area is a quiet tranquil area of Roatan without high end hotels and condos

3. BAY ISLAND UNDERWATER MUSEUM: An awesome snorkeling adventure at the depth of a swimming pool. The Bay Islands Underwater Museum will take you on a guided snorkel tour of one of the most beautiful reefs in the Caribbean and so much more! Discover Mayan artifacts, a Spanish Galleon ship wreck and the Treasure Chest. This is fun for the whole family. The Bay Islands Underwater Museum is an experience you will never forget.

the world’s largest underwater sculpture museum while at the Bay Islands…it is a must see!

*The Bay Islands of Honduras are gems in the Western Caribbean, providing a different culture and scenery to that of the mainland.  The islanders of UtilaRoatan and Guanaja are all proud of their British heritage, and these English speaking islands have become a true favorite for both leisure travellers and diving fans, as well as for investors looking to purchase a piece of paradise to retire in.

4. COXEN HOLE’s FINS AND FLIPPERS is a Private island off of Coxen Hole. snorkeling, beach massage. Shuttle from Roatan cruise pier every 30 minutes.

5. WEST END, Roatan

6. COPÁN one of the most impressive ruins of the Maya civilization, known for the quality of its sculpture

beautiful beaches as well as Hot Springs to sooth the soul and the soles of your feet! lol

You can find good hotels even in small towns if you are willing to pay a bit more (Honduras is not really an expensive country). Nevertheless a visit is worthwhile, especially to the ancient Maya ruins in Copán, the colonial towns of  Gracias and Comayagua, and the fantastic Caribbean Coast.

<a href=”http://www.tripadvisor.com/LocationPhotos-g292019-d1441401-Fins_n_Flippers-Roatan_Bay_Islands.html”><img alt=”Photos of Fins ‘n Flippers, Roatan” src=”http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/01/8b/29/8d/the-reef.jpg”/></a><br/>This photo of <a href=”http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g292019-d1441401-Reviews-Fins_n_Flippers-Roatan_Bay_Islands.html”>Fins ‘n Flippers is courtesy of TripAdvisor

6. WEST BAY Roatan has a tranquil tropical island feel…translation easy breezy!

7. UTILA is the smallest of the Caribbean Bay Islands and it is said to offer more inexpensive travel options than Roatan

The world’s second-largest barrier reef runs alongside Utila island, and teems with varied and awe-inspiring marine life (Central America Travel).

Other cities or places to visit …the Hot spots:

  • Tegucigalpa (Spanish pronunciation: [teɣusiˈɣalpa]) — the capital and largest city of Honduras with an international airport.
  • San Pedro Sula — located in the Sula Valley in the northwest corner of the country, this is a major transportation and economic hub.
  • La Ceiba — port city on Caribbean coast with great beaches and daily ferries to the Bay Islands.
  • El Progreso — located at a strategic crossroads where major highways towards Comayagua, San Pedro Sula and Tela all converge.
  • Comayagua — the former capital of the country is today a quiet colonial town with a beautiful cathedral, notable Spanish architecture and an historic town centre.
  • Gracias— a pleasant colonial mountain town; nearby Parque Celaque is home to the highest mountain in Honduras set amongst wonderful cloud forests.
  • Puerto Cortes — the main harbour town on the Caribbean coast.
  • Tela — an old city with a beautiful sandy coastline and is also home to the second largest humid tropical botanical garden for commercial plants in the world.
  • Santa Rosa de Copán — temperate mountain city in the western part of the region, and the nearest place of any size to Copán.

 What shall we eat…lets go local?!

The Honduran “Plato tipico” is the most famous lunch. It consists of rice, beef, fried beans (frijolitos), and fried bananas (tajaditas). If you are lucky, it will also come with chimol, a fresh, non-spicy salsa made of tomatoes, green peppers, onions, cilantro and lime juice.

No,  this is not your ordinary  Pico de Gallo its CHIMOL!  Basically it is like the Mexican  “Pico de Gallo” but: without the the spicy chili and sweetness of fruits. We will typically use it with grilled meats, assada,  but goes well with most any meal!

Say Good morning  or Buenos días Honduran style …with a Baleadas are a Honduran original. A baleada sencilla (simple) consists of a thick flour tortilla filled with fried beans, cheese (queso), and a type of cream similar to sour cream but not sour (crema or mantequilla).  A baleada especial usually also comes with beans and cheese in it also you can sometimes get avocado or even meat (I would urge you to use Beef, Chicken or Turkey…no swine please).

Other choices are tacos and enchiladas, but do not expect them to be like those in Mexico. The tacos are meat rolled in a corn tortilla and deep fried. The enchiladas are a flat fried corn tortilla topped with ground beef, cheese and a red sauce….below is an example of what my mother oft prepared when there was not much in the left…little that we knew we were eating like Princes and Princess…and it was good!

My mother made this for us all the time; she called it  Enchilades (she used ground beef…no pork for her family).

Other mainstays include atól, corn soup (roots in Mayan cuisine. They are a sort of thick drink often eaten with a spoon.);  mondongo; and tamales.  Also, the diet of the Garifuna is based largely  on cassava, a   starchy root that is similar in texture, consistency, and  taste to the  potato that we all know. The Garifuna create combinations of cassava, coconuts,  plantains,  avocado, pineapples,  and meat, sometimes  all in the same stew. A favorite is Machuca, a stew of fried fish and mashed plantains in a coconut base.

Cassava root and cassava boiled and served as a meal. (my mother will utilize this in most soups and stews.

Machuca Stew (Left Picture)….. Atol de elote (is based on fresh corn (elote) and has a wonderfully fresh flavor)

Tamales are a White masa, and Red masa (add achiotoe with the sauce or gravy from your chicken) wrapped in a Banana Leaf with the chicken that you stewed, olives, white potatoes, garbonzo also called chickpeas, white rice, among other ingredients.

Mondongo soup is a tripe soup in a tomato base with corn, plantian, potatoes and yucca.  It is also loaded with local vegetables and home grown spices and seasonings.

Tapado De Pescado, is a traditional stew made from fish or meat, sowly cooked with cocount milk & plantains.

cropped-2011-07-08-002.jpg

In Honduras, a “pastelito” is a lunch time favorite to order. Pastelitos consist of a flour or corn tortilla filled with either beef or chicken, as well as potatoes and various spices. They are folded in half and then deep fried (Corn to your left, the filling, and Flour to your right).

The staple of the mestizo Honduran diet is Rice and Beans .  My mother has always enjoyed using chicken as well…con pollo!

TIP: Use coconut milk to stew the rice and beans…this adds a smooth creamy flavor!

Oxtails (tail of an ox or steer) was prepared many times in my home…even today I see this as a special treat…made during the holidays and my birthday!

Another typical meal which my mother prepared quite often was flitters  (this could be eaten as a side dish for Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner).

my mother called these “johnny cakes” a bread-like rolls and /or sandwich pockets from South and Central American food called arepas.

Pictured to your right are what my mother called Sweet Banana, the middle Yellow Plantain, then Green Plantains on your left.

Ripe Banana Plantain………….Yellow Plantains……………..Green Plantains (left)

Pictured in the center of the bunch (in the upper center photo) are Yellow Plantains

When you are Honduran an over ripe banana…meant Banana Bread or Plátanos Fritos (Fried ripe plantains) o your right!  When you are poor ecomomically you can actually be rich in resourcefulness; and my mother was a resourceful woman.  Afterall it is said that” necessity is the mother of invention”?!

Coco (Coconut) Cake with Yucca for dessert was a common but savory treat……Banana Cake, on your right  (with a little whip cream to top)

Nances are a fruit that taste tart, yet has a sweet undertone.  In some areas Nance fruit is called “craboo”.

Mango, If you grew up in Honduras hearing the dropping sounds of Mangoes are common and seemed to be quite annoying when I was a child…little did I know, that as an adult in the USA I will craze it so (oh how I long for those sounds of childhood)…!

When there was an important affair in the family during the summer months, my mother prepared a Fruit Basket.  Now this was not any traditional basket like they design at Edible Creations; no my mother bought a melon-baller and tenderly balled out perfectly rounded melons of all kinds (Cantelope, Crenshaw, Honeydew, Santa Claus and Watermelon).  Then she placed all inside an excavated Watermelon; along with Strawberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, and Raspberries. oooooh what a treat!

Tamarind Drink is made from the Tamarind  seed; which can be made into a very refreshing and tasty drink!

Horachata Drink is a drink that is basically soaked rice water with spices such as cinnamon, all spice and nutmeg!  My mother would always place a stick of cinnanon into the drink…afterall she knew a thing or two about presentation!

Pinapple Drink: My mother would soak the rind of the pineapples, after serving the meat of the pineapple, to prepare for us a Sweet Piña Drinks in the Summer ater we played the day away outside.  It was as though I had extra energy to jump rope with my friends:)

 

Fruit Drinkwhen Holiday season arrived my mother would prepare a apecial fruit drink, (with fresh Fruits of various kinds, Seagrams’ Ginger Ale, Sprite and other secrets).  As a child I would drink this as it was water…not quite understanding the time it took to prepare. Just understanding the main ingredient was  her “LOVE“!

my favorite drink of all time is CoCo water….basically it is the juice from the coconut plant

whether it is your normal coconut……………………………. or the “young” coconut

our Lemonades; where actually made of Limeade………….Guayaba Drink (she made it fresh)

Despite their unlovely exterior, the inside is sweet and soft.

According to authoritative internet sources such as Wikipedia, the lychee tree originated in southern China, but grows well in semi-tropical and tropical regions. An added bonus is the nutritional bonanza of a lychee: nine lychee provide 100% of the recommended
daily allowance for Vitamin C, along with a variety of minerals.  If you happen to find some lychee north of the border, I suggest you use a sharp  knife to open the tough exterior, as well as for dislodging the stony pit. The center somewhat resembles an almond, but it is bitter, although edible.  Of  course, if you live in Honduras, the closest thing you will find in the stores  to a sharp good blade is a machete.

What shall we wear…when it is time to celebrate?

     

Traditional Honduran Dress….Mayan Girls in traditional wear…..Traditioal Garifuna “punta” instruments

young children dressed in traditional clothing……Ms Honduras dressed in National Costume (2010)

Honduras Independence Day festivities start early in the morning with marching bands. Each band wears different colors and features cheerleaders. Fiesta Catracha takes place this same day: typical Honduran foods such as beans, tamales, baleadas, cassava with meat, and tortillas are offered.
Important Celebrations

Some of Honduras’ national holidays include Honduras Independence Day on 15 September and Children’s Day or Día del Niño, which is celebrated in homes, schools and churches on 10 September; on this day, children receive presents and have parties similar to Christmas or birthday celebrations. Some neighborhoods have piñatas on the street. Other holidays are Easter,  Mauny Thursday, Good Friday, Day of the Soldier (3 October to celebrate the birth of Franisco Morazán), Christmas, El Dia de Lempira on 20 July, and New Year’s Eve.

Travel Tips

• Purified water is used in big-city hotels and restaurants, but bottled water is definitely recommended for outlying areas for Travel:

• It is not recommended to buy much food in the streets (people who are selling food just by the sidewalk). Remember Honduran food can be spicy too, so be careful if you are not used to it.

• Many travel agencies and different places will tell you that Honduras is a dangerous country concerning illnesses, this is not true. People are just as ill all over Latin America (nothing out of what is normal), just take the necessary precautions.  HIV is a problem in Honduras so be careful as you would in your own country.

• Use caution when traveling alone in Honduras, at night its best to take a radio dispatched taxi no matter what part you’re in.

• Use common sense at night. Foreigners are sometimes robbed on the streets of Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula at night by thieves who stake out areas in front of tourist hotels.

Honduran Americans are a very diverse group. They include those of Spanish,  mixed, Mayan, black Carib, African, Palestinian and Chinese   ancestry, among  many others. They have made important improvements in their own standards  of living, major educational and professional achievements, and important  cultural contributions to American society.  In the future, they must face  the challenges of prejudice from some Americans and overcome a history of  poverty.

Read more: Honduran Americans – History, The colonial era, The independent republic of honduras http://www.everyculture.com/multi/Ha-La/Honduran-Americans.html#ixzz26vq5cCpM

 Miss Universe Honduras 2010 Pictures

Miss Universe Honduras 2010 Kenia Martinez’s Crowning Moment

Miss Honduras 2011, Keilyn Gomez

Remember in order to appreciate life you must enjoy the richness it has to offer…so go lay on a beautiful beach, eat exotic foods, meet new people and enjoy HONDURAS!

If you believe that: DIVERSITY IS A BEAUTIFUL THING…

visit

Honduras!

Link

As I was watching one of my favorite television programs last week, as I was doing my normal channel surfing, I stumbled upon “Bravo’s Top Master Chef“.    This program begins with certain challenges that each Chef/contestant is required to perform.  One of the challenges, that evening was to prepare a “picnic-type 3 meal preparation on one day…that will be served on the very next day.  After much toil and labour the Chefs, along with viewing audience, which included me…discovered that the picnic was in fact a flash mob picnic a la………. Le Dîner en Blanc®  

FYI: Flash Mob: “a group of people mobilized by social media to meet in a public place for the purpose of doing an unusual or entertaining activity of short duration.”

although, I never took French classes in High School or College, it was evident that it translated to “Dinner in White” (I did however spent 3 weeks in Alsace-Lorraine, France oo-la-la).  I have heard of “Black and White parties” before; but this seemed something much more unique and special.  The Diner en Blanc, was held with elegantly dressed men and women in an all white setting; the picnickers set-up their tables with Linen Table Clothes, laid out their Silverware or Flatware (NO plastic cutlery) and placed China Plates with Stemmed Glasses and Goblets in their  correct and impeccable order —not like any picnic that I ever attended.  My picnics have been more in the line of an itchy blanket, beef Hot Dogs,  BBQ Potato Chips and flavored Soda Pops, with paper plates and napkins and plastic sporks (lol)!

FYI: spork (combination of a spoon and fork).

It all seemed quite fun and recherché as the French would say…After learning of this Dinner in White by pockets of conversations from the guests that were in attendance on camera.  I learned that this was a secret event; it began in France, and has now grown to being held in 5 continents!…what is Dinner en Blanc…So, I decided to do my research: a Dinner in White event is where “Thousand of people, dressed all in white, and conducting themselves with the greatest decorum, elegance, and etiquette, all meet for a mass “chic picnic” in a public space.  Over the course of an evening, the diners enhance the function and value of their city’s public space by participating in the unexpected.  Beyond the spectacle and refined elegance of the dinner itself, guests are brought together from diverse backgrounds by a love of beauty and good taste.  Le Dîner en Blanc recalls the elegance and glamour of court society, and diners engage one another knowing they are taking part in a truly magical event.  There are no disruptions: no car traffic, no pedestrian traffic, except for the occasional amazed and astonished looks from passersby at the scene unfolding before them. And we, as they, wonder whether it’s all not a dream…” (dinerenblanc.com).

FYI:  Recherché:  marked by such rare and exquisite quality that it is known only to connoisseurs, affected: marked by excessive refinement or exaggerated importance.

Seems quite fasinating…no?…the answer is YES.  Thank you, François Pasquier (who began this whimsical affair reportedly over 20 years ago), now it has blossomed into a guest list of over 15,000 a year.  Now, due to the growth of the interest and fascination, it has fueled from a spark, to a flame! Though the art of technology  the event may have changed over the years, the principles of this fantastic event have not; Diners continue to gather at a secret location with the sole purpose of sharing a high-quality meal with good friends, at the heart of one of a particular city’s most beautiful locations. ”

Something akin to a flash mob for Foodies like me….

CHICAGO (The Daley Plaza)

NEW YORK (Lincoln Center)

PARIS (du Louvre)

SINGAPORE (Art Science Museum)

  

Select an outfit that is stylish, chic & whiteBring a Picnic Basket with elegant foods….Bring a folding table (24-30), 2 folding chairs

 

Pack a white linen table-cloth…………. Silverware, China plates, Stemware: NO plasticware..Set your table accordingly (perfection)

Arrange your table as if you are setting up for Prince and Princess (afterall you are Royal!)

Bring with you Appetizers that are scrumptious mouthful bites of little pieces of delights!

Select Entrées that are bursting with flavor as well as satisfying…to get you through all the evening festivities!

ah ah ah…please do not forget, like any other event there is a finish…bring a Dessert for the deserving!

hopefully there is just room enough to pack a bottle of Sparkling Wine for your toasting…remember NO hard liquor!

So, now you want an invite too!  Well I learned that there are a few rules you must adhere:  I got these rule verbatim from their website so if you do not believe me visit it for yourself…

1.  Seats are allotted on-site in a very specific manner.

2.  In order to participate, one must be invited by a participant from the previous year or get on the official websites’ waiting list.

3.  Once confirmed, the presence is mandatory, regardless of weather conditions, as the event is held regardless of weather conditions.

4.  Colour of attire and table setting; white only.

5.  Table setting is symmetrical with men seated on one side and women on the other (Women also have priority on the better view).

6.  Participants arrive and depart at the same time by chartered bus or organized public transportation.

7.  Depart with one’s belongings, leftovers and trash, leaving the place as clean as it was upon arrival.

So, if you think you can adhere to the rules…then go to Macy’s or another high end department store with elegant attire!  Also, according to the website you, as the guest , must bring a few things…

1)   A table, two (blanc/white) chairs.

2)  A picnic basket comprised of quality menu items and a china dinner service including proper stemware and flatware.

3)   Wine or Champagne , if allowed.  Beer and hard alcohol is prohibited.

4)   Participants must wear white and be dressed elegantly.

Now, you know the rules what to bring, what to wear, and

5)  Originality is encouraged as long as it stays stylish and denotes taste.

If you are still in doubt…because after all if you are blessed enough to eek out an invite and you are sure to have HAUTE FUN; then what should you N O T do in order to tag that invite next year.  Here are a few tips I was able to garner:

1.   No t-shirts and sports tops

2. No Sports shoes, gym shoes, or caps (baseball-type)

3. Drink with moderation!!!

4. Bring a white garbage bag for clean up…your place must be clean as it was upon arrival.

sshhh you will only know of the exact location of the event until just before it is scheduled to occur! (hush-hush).

NOTE: Since attendance is mandatory once you are invited…you may run the risk of no other invitation being extended if you do not attend …Therefore if  you are not able to attend GIVE THE INVITE TO ME INSTEAD lol lol..no, no they take a copious attendance.

The organizers of Diner en Blanc main rule is that we should “recall the elegance and glamour of court society.”

FYI: elegance:  el•e•gance: quality and refinement.

FYI: glamour: glam•our: the quality of fascinating, alluring, or attracting, especially by a combination of charm and good looks.

Therefore, if you get that coveted invite, purchased the white attire, packed your elegant dishes, and are now waiting to be notified of the exact locale…remember when you are raising that champagne glass in your grande finale toast “take it all in… and take many fabulous photographs of you and your friends (new and old)! Lastly remember to…

be cool…cool as blanc.

Link

Where shall we land and visit next, on our virtual adventure…next stop down under in North America!  Los Cabos, Mexico – land of BB  (Beautiful Beaches).    When most of my Co-Pilots jump into their seats next to mine, they know that they can  anticipate a gentle  glide onto some runway into a landing strip to paradise!  After a bit of research I learned that it “is” one of the locales with the most beautifully pristine beaches; yes next destination….

                 Los Cabos, Mexico!

   

¡Venga Conmigo!

Los Cabos is on the Pacific side of Mexico (Los Cabos refers to the area that comprises most of Baja Penisula, an area of Mexico).  Actually, it is located at the southern most tip of the Baja California Peninsula.  The word Los  Cabos. or The Capes, as it is called in the English language, has some of the Best beaches in the world, and thereby has fun & exciting water sports as well.

Imagine jetting through the crystal clear waters in  as you take in the beautiful scenery along Los Cabos!  What makes Los Cabos so special in Mexico,  is it it’s prime location on a map, or the spicy delicious platters of exotic foods, or the romantic Spanish langauge, or the local friendly people dressed in colorful festival clothing always throwing their heads back in an infectious laughter as you listen to toe tapping music in the background… ?  Is it possible that it is all of the above, conspiring into making you not feel like a stranger; but the Guest of Honor in Mexico!

As you can see from th picture of the Map Los Cabo, it is a first stop in a long line of other wonderful possible destinations (Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen),   on the other side of Mexico they are other fun filled getaways too (Mazatlan, Puerto Vallerta, Manzanillo, Ixtapal, and Acapulco) But what is that little red dot at the tip on the other side?  Ahh that is where we are landing next LOS CABOS!!  After much research we have learned that Los Cabos is in the Country of Mexico, the State of Baja California Sur, and the Municipal seat of San Josè del Cabo and right at the resort corridors that lies between the two.

FYI: All Mexican states ar divided into municipalities then they are sub-divided into Burroughs (except Mexico City; that is called a Federal District).

One of the Passengers in the airplane yells out “why Los Cabos, and not any other destination…after all Mexico is a big place ?!”  As I peer out of the Pilot’s window I see that Mexico flanks the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean…that is a lot of waters… and water means beaches…destination>>>>>> FUN!

As we land,  you as the Co-Pilot and other passengers stroll to select which luxury hotels or Resorts & Spas, you plan to check into,  since they are so plentiful in Los Cabos…it can be easy to see that the business of Tourism is one of economical importance  in Mexico.  The sun is bright, the hotels are luxurious, the waters are crystal clear, the food is great and the people are friendly!  (what is there not to fall in love with…)

…and the sports.  I know that Mexico won the gold in the 2012 Olympics games; but their real sport is in the water, not the football field!

 

From swimming with the Dolphins, to encountering some of the finest Snorkeling and Scuba Diving down deep (it is about a 15-25 minutes boat ride from downtown Marina).

TIP:  Jacques Cousteau christened Los Cabos “the world’s aquarium” and anglers called it “the world’s greatest fish trap”.  Today Los Cabos welcomes nearly two million visitors annually.

NOTE:  Jacques Cousteau (1910-19970) was a well known French naval officer, author, and undersea explorer: he developed the Aqua-Lung.

FYI:  Angler: is a person who fishes with a hook and line.

 

 

book an encounter to fish with the sharks (although some have been known to swim with the sharks…I do not recommend it lol)!!

…if swimming is not your strong sport; you can always tour The Arch in Los Cabos.

FYI: El Arco (the Arch) is a distinctive rock formation at the southern tip of Cabo San Lucas a popular area for sailors.

TIP: The Arch is a  known “hangout” for sea lions…you can find some of them “just chillin’ ” on the rocks.

FYI: What is the difference between Sea Lions and Seals?  Well, both seals and sea lions, together with the walrus, are pinnipeds, which means “fin footed” in Latin.  Sea lions (eared seals) have ear flaps, while true seals (earless seals) have  ear holes.  Also, Sea lions have long, smooth whiskers, specialized hairs used for tactile  sensations.  Seals have crimped or beaded whiskers.
Read more:  Difference Between Seals & Sea Lions | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/facts_5568331_difference-between-seals-sea-lions.html#ixzz261Qty9VE

The signature Los Cabos landmark is El Arco, a natural stone arch at the southernmost tip of the Baja California peninsula. The Arch marks the meeting of the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez, each an unpredictable shade of blue or green. Large swells boil up where the two ocean currents collide. Vistas of The Arch and Cape Saint Luke’s long arm encircling San Lucas Bay dominate the view from miles away. The bay is usually crowded with fishing and sightseeing boats, sailboats, jet skis, yachts, kayaks, and the occasional cruise ship or warship. In the daytime it’s a postcard seascape, at night a panorama of glitter on dark velvet. (cabo Bob’s Lost Cabos).

okay if looking at sea lions do not do it for you…then go Whale Wathing, these beautiful creations can be quite fascinating and allows you to tell your friends that you had “a whale of a time in Los Cabos”  (use the tour group, this way you are with people that are trained,  informed and understand the waters)…Whale Watching Expedition in Los Cabos | Whale Watching Tours in Cabo  (mycabostours.com).

In Los Cabos you can take the kids with…after taking them with you , you can then take them to the WATER PARK in Los Cabos…this is “your” time too after all!

TIP: Some of the waters in Los Cabos may be quite rough for surfing…so a walk to the restaurants after a long day of sightseeing  may be in order…and oh what a treat…

The Pilot has given a menu of some of the most popular and tasty meals you will sure to find in Mexico while having fun in Los Cabos.  Whether you are eating in one of the beautiful hotels or resorts…you can also stroll down the market place and sample the street vendors and local supermarkets.  The foods may look strange, smell unique or different than what you are accustom; but I urge all my passengers  to try different foods and drinks…that is what an adventurer does…commit to bask in the glory of what the world has to offer !

Mexican Dishes are the most popular international foods in the USA!  We know this because when someone has a taste for Spanish foods—you will hear them shout “lets get Mexican!” (discarding that Spanish Foods can also comprise of European, Central and South America).   It is little wonder why all cultures and people enjoys Mexican dishes, since Mexican food continued evolving as new products and techniques were introduced into Mexico from different places. We can find recipes and ingredients originally from South America, the Caribbean and even Africa.  Mexican cooking makes use of  native elements  ( such as peanuts, vanilla, beans, coconuts and tomatoes) to produce tasteful meals.  Although, with the arrival of specialties like lamb, beef, wine, vinegar and cheese from Spain (brought by the conquerors), the Mexican cuisine evolved, by integrating these European elements into their own traditional meals.

The Mexican cuisine eventually met the cuisine from the north, and Tex-Mex food was created. Tex-Mex food is a blend of flavors and recipes from the Mexican, Texan and American cultures. Today we can find several different kinds of foods Mexicans eat, from Enchiladas, Tacos and Burritos to other cuisines; that may not have been created in Mexico but has the flavor, spices, and seasonings of Mexican Flavor!

Forget about Taco Bell,  Spanish cooking can be much healthier with fresh ingredients, with food from organic and local farmers!  To your left is a Fish Taco with frisee lettuce and crispy radishes.   If  yu are not in the mood for healthy alternatives, try the typical tacos you will get at the local street vendors…check out the CARNE ASADA TACOS WITH CILANTRO & ONIONS to your right!!!

Regardless of the foreign elements present in Mexico’s nouvelle cuisine, the main ingredients remain the same recipe after recipe.  You and I may fry chicken…but in Mexico they will not only fry it but stew it in a post of sauces, spices, and seasonings (it is kicked up a notch).  The most common ingredient used in Mexican food is corn.  whether corn is grilled, boiled, fried, or baked it is made delicious with the right seasonings and spices…muy delicioso!!!

The next most popular plant in Mexican cooking  is the  Plantains. 

FYI:  Plantain is the common name for herbaceous plants of the genus Musa.  Plantains are similar to the common banana in shape and texture, but are wider with lower sugar content. Unlike the banana, considered a fruit or dessert item.  The popular green ones, weedy plants are native to Europe and Asia, but now grow practically anywhere in the world where there is sufficient water.

They come in many varieties and will range from the Green being  starchy and hard to the Yellow being sweet and soft.  Now Plantains can be food almost in most countries, from North America, Central America, South America, Cuba, Africa and India.  If you visit the Caribbean you are sure to find Dishes with these popular food item.  However, the preparation may differ in other countries the basic of peeling remains the same.  See Below for a Tip

TIP:  How to Peel a Plantain…not like your regular Banana (lol)!

  

To peel green plantains, cut a small slice off each end. Cut the plantain in
half across. Use the point of a very sharp knife to make four cuts through the
skin lengthwise down the whole length of the vegetable. Take the point of the
knife and pry up one corner of one of the strips of peel. Pull off the strip. It
may be easier to pull the strip sideways rather than down the length of the
plantain. Repeat with the other strips of peel. If you want to use the peeled
plantains whole, simply cut off the ends and make the four cuts down the whole
length of the vegetable. It may be a little difficult at first, but preserve and
it will become easier. The peeled plantains are ready to be sliced, then fried or baked.

…after all of that peeling, frying and eating  in Los Cabos it is time for dessert…but for that you need a refreshing drink before your eat.  Try a tall cool drink of  HORCHATA .  

In Mexico, horchata is one of the most common aguas frecas and is ladled from large glass jars set in ice (although in some establishments you will find it in a fountain drink that continuously stirs so that patrons do not get that “settled” grainy rice taste).  Horchata is a milky white, sweet beverage that was introduced to Spain by the Moors. The original Spanish version is made with ground tiger nuts and is especially popular in Valencia.  In Latin America, where the tiger nut is not commonly available, pulverized rice is used (what 4 eats).

 

at your right is a typical prepared glass of it with a dusting of cinnamon powder on top for aesthetic.   Mexico-Oaxaca: tinted pink with a dollop of the pureed fruit of the prickly pear cactus (tuna in Spanish).   However, in other countries they can add their own spin to the drink.  For example, in El Salvador: it is flavored with ground morro seed (from the calabash tree gourd) and various spices. Then in Nicaragua and Honduras: flavored with ground jícaro seeds (from the calabash tree gourd) and cocoa.  Other possible additions can be: a squeeze of lime juice, ground nutmeg, ground allspice all can add to the unique flavoring.  Also, you can use evaporated milk, instead of plain milk, for a creamy richer taste (whats4eat).

TIP: Now, you can purchase Horchata de Arroz in a Package that is a Mix…this is simpler than soaking rice in water overnight!  And after all there is so much to do Los Cabos that over night is not a viable option (lol)!

FLAN is another popular Mexican dessert, it is a silky smooth custard dessert that can be enriched with fruits, caramel, or chocolate.

FYI: In Ecuador, especially on the coast, it is very common to find flans made with pineapple, coconut, mango, or other fruit.

Tres leches literally translated “three milks” (called so because it is soaked and soaked in three kinds of milk: Evaporated Milk, Condensed Milk, and Whole Milk.  According to wikipedia there is deputes of the origin of this smooth dessert.  As with all other desserts, there are different variations…Following the same recipe for the cake, but soaking it in a mixture of water, rum or brandy, and sugar, it is called pastel borracho (drunken cake). It is popular throughout Mexico and Central America in this form.  In the Caribbean, especially Puerto Rico, it is common both ways but mostly popular using Cream of Coconut instead of Condensed Milk or both.  In my opinion, any way you make it…it is sweet goodness:)

When you are in Los Cabos, or for that matter any part of Mexico. you will find many Bakeries.  In those little neighborhood panadería (bakeries in English), you will discover all kinds of baked sumptuous goodies.  Some you may recognize and others that will be new to you…do not be afraid to try different treats…I know I am not…(lol)!

Sweet Mexican Conchas*************************Bunuelos (Christmas doughnuts)

 

 Empanadas**********************************Churros dipped in chocolate…can you say…YUM!

FYI: An empanada (or empada, in Portuguese) is a stuffed bread or pastry baked or fried in many countries in Western Europe, Latin America, and parts of Southeast Asia. The name comes from the Galician, Portuguese and the Spanish verb empanar, meaning to wrap or coat in bread.   In Brazil and Honduras, a variation of “empanada”, is called “Pastel” and it s a very common day-by-day food, you find a variety of stuffings.  The bolani is an Afghan variant of the empanada.  In Argentine empanadas are often served at parties as a starter or main course, or in festivals. Shops specialize in freshly made empanadas, with many flavors and fillings.  As you can see it is popular throughout various countries like Portugal, Spain, Brazil, Hispanic America, North America, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Haiti. —No wonder everyone loves them…so it is not just me!!!

In the evening or the next morning you may want to try a special drink to ease you into the night or day and not leave you jumpy like coffee or some teas….time to try—-

Mexican Hot Chocolate. journeys back thousands of years to the Mayas, Aztecs and other Central American Indians.  Molinillos are available in most Mexican markets and online (see images below).

Frothing Mexican Hot Chocolate_ForkFingersChopsticks.com

a  cup of water

1 stick cinnamon

5 cups milk

2 (3 oz) disks Mexican chocolate (Ibarra), rough chopped small

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 tablespoon cocoa powder, optional

2 – 3 dashes cayenne powder, optional

Whipped cream, garnish

Ground cinnamon, garnish

Method

  1. In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring water and cinnamon stick to boil; continue to boil until liquid turns brown and reduces to about 1/2 cup. Meanwhile, rough chop chocolate,  smaller pieces melt faster.
  2. Reduce heat to medium, add milk and heat. When milk is on the brink of boiling, add the chopped chocolate and use the molinillo or wooden spoon to stir and break up large pieces of chocolate until it is melted. Add vanilla and taste. Add optional ingredients – coco for a deeper chocolate taste and cayenne a dash at a time, for a spicy bite.
  3. Remove the cinnamon stick. Use the molinillo to make frothy. Serve hot alone or topped with whipped cream, a sprinkle of ground cinnamon or cayenne.

Variation:

Milk:  Soymilk, almond milk (I prefer soy, it is healthier with less fat).

NOTE:  from the blog entitled: “Fork, Fingers, Chopsticks

this is the suggest retail brand………………………….these are Molnillos (frothers)

The most wanted Mexican candy is the one made for special religious celebrations. The “Calaveras de Azúcar” , these are tiny skulls made of sugar, decorated with brilliant, festive colors. They are placed on the dead people’s graves on the Dia de los Muertos (day of the dead), to commemorate their lives. The decorations are so great that many people consider them art pieces instead of candy!

FYI: “Historically, it has been a fusion of both Judeo-Christian ideologies and a
synthesis of the indigenous-American vision of Death and the hereafter. Such
pre-Columbian cultures that honored and revered their departed loved ones,
beckoning and summoning the return of those bygone spirits who have passed on,
include the Aztecs, Maya-Quiché, Toltecs, Purépechas, Olmecas, Zapotecas,
Tlaxcaltecas, and the Mixtecas, all of México, the Yucatán Peninsula and parts
of Central América.” researched from various articles and all content @ mexico.com.

TIP: “The Bible tells us NOT to honor the dead; they are ‘resting’ or ‘sleeping’ in the grave.  At Ecclesiastes 3:20 the Bible tells us: “All are going to one place. They have all come to be from the dust, and they are all returning to the dust”.   This is the purpose of the resurrection that Jesus Christ taught his followers.   Jesus said, at John 5:28, 29– “Do not marvel at this, because the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who did good things to a resurrection of life, those who practiced vile things to a resurrection of judgment”.  The only death Christians should honor is the Memorial of Jesus Christs’ Death. “Keep doing this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19) Paul said: “For as often as you eat this loaf and drink this cup, you keep proclaiming the death of the Lord, until he arrives.” (1 Corinthians 11:26) “As often” need not mean many times a year; it can mean annually over a period of many years. If you commemorate an important event, such as a wedding anniversary, or if a nation commemorates an important event in its history, how often is it done? Once a year on the anniversary date. This would also be consistent with the fact that the Lord’s Evening Meal was instituted on the date of the Jewish Passover, a yearly celebration that no longer had to be kept by Jews who had become Christians.”

Now that we have taste the taste in Los Cabos…let us dress the part.  I have always enjoyed “theme” dressing and I love to be daring and different as well.  When I am in a different country or part of the world I like to dabble in the custom outfits.  Of course I want to be respectful and not be annoying and look like a caricature that will insult the locale people of the region.   I still pack touches of the traditional wear!

NOTE:   A caricature is a portrait that exaggerates or distorts the essence of a person, animal or object to create an easily identifiable visual likeness and can be offensive, if not treated with sensitivity.

a few youg ladies in traditional wear……………….performers and dancers in more elaborate and ornate wear! Olè

…and of course like any celebration one will show their local pride and wear clothing to “represent”! ¿De dónde es usted? (where are you from?)

Michoacan Traditional Dress

Michoacan Traditional Dress (left)………….Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico (right)

Campeche Traditional Dress

Campeche Traditional Dress………………..Charro Suit (generally worn on the Day of the Dead)

¿Qué Hay De Nuevo?

or take a modern approach; but keep it local with a modern  “guayabera” men’s shirt.  wear in long or short sleeved (top off it off with a straw fedora…keeping it  cool)

…and ladies, keep it modern too; with an embroidered brightly colored dress

with the spanish  flavor but still in fashion!!!…or a cute vintage-styled look—very boho chic, if you are feeling less comfortable with the length pull on a pair of cut-off blue jean shorts!

Be sure to bring some loot for all of the souvenirs you plan to bring back to your friends and family back home.  After asking ¿Cuánto Vale/ Cuesta Eso? (how much is this?)..be sure to haggle a bit…everything can be negotiated in Mexico!

Now that we enjoyed the flavor and warmth of Los Cabos with all its fun Activities, delicious Foods,  &  artful Clothing; we have all  gained a sense of the Mexican spirit.   We are ready for our next adventure.  However, we can not yet driven down the runway without our last  Adios Amigos  to our new family in Los Cabos!  All of us are yelling “Mucho Beso y abrazos, (many kisses and hugs) Los Cabos” as we taxi down the runway…until we return again!

¡Hasta luego, Mexico!

Link

I was recently on a cruise vacation; aboard one of the largest cruise ship of the World…The Allure of the Seas, one of the ports of call, actually the first , was Haiti.  When I first learned that the first port was Haiti I was a bit cautious…had not Haiti experienced a terrible earthquake not long ago; why visit a place of devastation?  I decided to delve in some copious reading for my research.  After viewing a few videos on YouTube and reading a couple of articles suggested by Bing , I gravely learned the following: “The Haitian government reported that an estimated 316,000 people had died, 300,000 had been injured and 1,000,000 made homeless. The government of Haiti also estimated that 250,000 residences and 30,000 commercial buildings had collapsed or were severely damaged.” …then I really had to question;    Is this really  where we were headed on our Western Caribbean tour!

  

                                                                                                                                                                                                Flag  adopted on Febuary 25, 1987

Also, an interesting  fact which I learned was that Haiti’s regional, historical, and ethno-linguistic position is unique for several reasons.  It was the first independent nation of Latin America and the
Caribbean, the first black-led republic in the world!, and the second republic in the Americas when it gained independence in 1804 as part of a successful slave revolution lasting nearly a decade!

* Haiti is a survival country and has overcome many obstacles than natural disastrous calamities…but a few disastrous historical events orchestrated by man, as well.

*  The Spanish exploited the island for its gold.

         *   Europeans brought with them infectious diseases that were new to the Caribbean, to which the indigenous population lacked immunity

  Although one of the greatest historical events also had some devastating events:  “Haiti is the only contemporary nation born of a slave revolt. Historians have estimated the slave rebellion resulted in the deaths of 100,000 blacks and 24,000 of the 40,000 white colonists, as well as many free people of color!”

FYI: The United States President Thomas Jefferson continued an arms and goods embargo against the new country. Due to the pressure of southern Congressmen, who feared their slaves being encouraged by the revolt.

Historical factual note is that In February 2010, the eight-page document containing the “official”  Declaration of Independence, which was believed to have been destroyed or thrown out, was found by a Canadian graduate student from Duke University in their Britain’s National Archives. Coming as it did soon after the 2010 devastating earthquake, the discovery is seen by many to be providential.

Note:  Providential:  of, pertaining to, or resulting from divine providence,  opportune, fortunate, or lucky!

Since I love history I thought, yes indeed this would be a great first stop indeed!

After reading further I learned that in Haiti there will be quite a few things to do, according to the TravelAdvisor  the top 5 places for you to visit and enjoy while in Haiti are:

  1. BAAIN BLEU, JACMEL (known for its freshwater pools)

…if you have never taken a refreshing dip in fresh waters there is nothing like it…not the salty ocean, not a chlorinated pool can compare!

2.   THE CITADELLE, CAP-HAITIEN (Historic landmark and point of interest).

…this was an important city during the colonial period. After the slave revolution, it was the first capital of the Kingdom of Northern Haiti under King Henri
Christophe.

3.   DRAGON BREATH ZIPLINE, LABEDEE (one of the most daring zip lining experiences).

4.   HAITIAN CULTURE TOUR, LABEDEE

Haitian’s deeply depends on it income from tourist and sells artifacts, stages performs, and sells traditional cuisine!

5. NATIONAL HISTORY PARK, CITADEL, SANS SOUCI, RAMIERS

The Sans-Souci Palace was the royal residence of King Henri. The buildings were among the first to be built after Haiti’s independence from France.

Labadee is a wonderful port to visit, as a first port of call, although there is the aftermath of the earthquake, Labadee is a private resort leased by Royal Caribbean International (RCI), which had generated the largest proportion of tourist revenue to Haiti since 1986. It employs 300 locals, allows another 200 to sell their wares on the premises, and pays the Haitian government US$6 per tourist. The resort is connected to Cap-Haïtien by a mountainous dirt and gravel road. RCI has built a pier at Labadie capable of servicing the luxury-class large ships, completed in late 2009.  Attractions include a Haitian market, numerous beaches, watersports, a water-oriented playground, and the popular zip-line.

…also Labadee offers its cruisers free buffet meals and a fresh beverages while onshore (unlike the other ports of call) and shopping in their local courtyard.

Haitian Cuisine  Situated on the island of Hispanola in the clear blue waters of the Caribbean, Haiti’s cuisine is immersed in different cultural influences that are unique to the region.  With its rich history that includes French, Spanish, African and American elements, this western section of Hispanola contains a unique culinary world that remains distinctively Haitian.

Fresh fried fish of the seas!………………………………………Goat with Peppers and Spices.

Frying Plantains

It is “national dish” is the du riz a pois or rice & beans…Of course smashed fried plantains.

Stickky Toffee Pudding for dessert  *(add pralines)…authentic traditional Ginger Ale

This classic Haitian condiment can be found on every table, sometimes even when there isn’t a table, the jar to your right is Picklese (a.k.a. Pikliz). The liquid is used as a hot sauce; in other dishes the thinly sliced vegetables are a sort of slaw/pickle condiment for meat or vegetable preparations.

Soup Joumou is a traditional soup very popular and native to Haiti, traditionally served on New Year’s day in celebration of the country’s independence. On January 1, 1804, newly freed  slaves consumed the once forbidden dish by their masters after running the French off the island. Soup Joumou is a vivid soup made from butternut squash or pumpkin and always contain meats (beef or pork…I would strongly suggest beef ), hearty autumn veggies, such as potato, celery, parsley, carrots, onions, etc…

It is also a tradition for family members and friends to exchange a bowl of this delicious soup on New Year’s day to show appreciation.

Certain other the locations’  tradition:  tips to keep in mind.   Do not be the Ugly American.

FYI: The term “Ugly American is a stereotypical representation of an American tourist as a brash and insensitive philistine; from a title of a novel (1958) by William Lederer and Eugene Burdick.

* It is consider rude not to thank the bus or taxi driver

* Hats must be taken off when entering a house.

* Passing between two people talking is considered very rude.

* Haitians expect haggle when making a purchase.

* Man always shake hands on meeting and departing. Men and women, women and women kiss on the cheeks.

* Visitors to a household, never leave empty-handed, or without drinking, coffee or tea.

* When entering a yard, Haitians shout Onè “Honor” and the host is expected to reply respè “Respect”

BUT THE MOST IMPORTANT REASON TO VISIT HAITI AND BUY ARTIFACTS, FOOD, AND DRINK ; IS TO PLACE MONEY INTO THE ECONOMY TO THE THOSE THAT NEED IT MOST…

THEREFORE DO NOT HAVE ANY HESITATIONS AND HATE ON HAITI! SOMEONE OVER THERE IS WAITING TO WELCOME YOU IN…!!

Link

Hawaii is typically recognized by its eight main islands: Hawaiʻi, Maui, Kahoʻolawe. Lānaʻi, Molokaʻi, Oʻahu, Kauaʻi, and Niʻihau.

There are 8 islands that consist of what constitutes the Hawaiian Islands (located in the North Pacific Ocean):

1.   Kaui: From the soaring cliffs of the Napali Coast to the vast chasms of Waimea Canyon, Kauai will enchant and rejuvenate your senses.

2.   Oahu: Home to the majority of Hawaii’s population.  Oahu offers amazing attractions and a warmth of lively activities from entertainment and historic sites.

3.   Molokai: Visit Molokai and travel to an island steeped in Hawaiian tradition and surrounded by unspoiled natural beauty.

4.   Lanai:  Lanai is a romantic getaway full of untouched tranquility where you will find secluded resorts and off the beaten path attraction.

5.   Maui: From it heavenly beaches to its scenic wonders Maui is a favorite Hawaiian destination for romance, spontaneity and fun.

6.   Kaho’olawe:  The only inhabited island of the Hawaiian islands.

7.   Hawaiian Island:   Also known as the Big Island.  It provides a cast canvas to discover a variety of inspiration, natural wonders, including an active volcano.

8.   Midway:  Is an incorporated territory of the United States (meaning it is controlled by the United States; but are “not” part of the United States).

the state of Hawaii recognizes 137 “islands” in the state, which also includes the Midway Atoll.   An island in this sense may also include much smaller and typically uninhabited islets, rocks, coral reefs, and atolls. For that reason, this article lists 152 separate islands (but also names smaller island chains such as the French Frigate Shoals, which includes 13 islands of its own). Some of these are too small to appear on maps, and others, such as Maro Reef, only appear above the water’s surface during times of low tide. Others, such as Shark and Skate islands, have completely eroded away. The majority of the Hawaiian Islands are uninhabited; Niʻihau is the westernmost island with a permanent population. All the islands west of Niʻihau—those categorized as the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands—are unpopulated and recently incorporated into the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.

FYI:  Hawaii is one of two states that do not observe daylight saving time, the other being  Arizona. Hawaii is also one of two states that are not in the  Contiguous United States, the other being Alaska.  Now a few facts about the Great State of Hawaii:

*The population of Hawai’i is 1,360,301 (taken in 2010).

*The length of Hawai’i is 1,522 miles (2,450 km).

*The Capital of Hawai’i is Honolulu (it is also the largest city in Hawai’i.

*The state flag of Hawai’i is: 

What traditional clothing to Wear while in Hawaii…

…if you are FEMALES AND MALES:

                          Day Time Wear                      Evening Wear                         Beach Wear

...or iF you are a couple---why not dress in the same print...IT CAN BE ENDEARING!!!

What to Say when you are in Hawaii…

  WORD/PHRASE:                       MEANING:

1.    A hui hou                                                    Till we meet again

2.   ‘Ae                                                                 Yes

3.   Akua                                                              God

4.   Aloha                                                            Love, affection; greeting, salutation; Hello! Good-bye!

5.  Aloha au ia ‘oe                                             I love you

6.  Hoaloha                                                        Friend

7.   Kanikapila                                                   Musical jam session

8.   Lei                                                                 A necklace of flowers, leaves, shells, feathers, given as a symbol of affection;

9.   Mahalo                                                         Thank You

10. Pehea ‘oe?                                                    How are you?

What is there to Do while in Hawaii…

okay…now for the fun part of Hawai’i…enough of the facts now for the FUN!

If water is your sport…than you are in for a treat or rather a feat (lol)

Water sync paddling &quot;Waikiki&quot; (Bobby Duncan Photography) Tags: ocean beach water fun hawaii women paradise waves waikiki oahu board tan paddle bikini tropical twopiece 2011 paddleboard hulagrill tropicalbreeze

Water Surfing                                                                                         Paddle Boarding

Wind Surfing                                                                                         Outrigger Canoeing

Jet Skiing                                                                                                 Water Skiing

ROMANCE      IN   AND    OUT     OF THE WATER!

What is there to Eat while in Hawaii…

Popular Hawaiian Dishes

Clockwise from top: Lomi Lomi Salmon, Tuna Poke, and Chicken Char Siu

Lomi Lomi Salmon The popular luau dish is named for the Hawaiian words for rub, massage, or knead. Traditionally, the salt is rubbed onto  he salmon, and the salmon, onions, and tomato are then massaged together with your hands. We opted for a tidier preparation.  Soaking the diced white onion mellows the flavor by taming its sharp bite.

Tuna Poke In this sushi-like dish, raw tuna is marinated in soy sauce, ginger, and sesame oil, and served atop cucumber slices as a finger food. Be sure to use sushi-grade tuna, as the poke isn’t “cooked” with citrus juices as in seviche.

Poi This Hawaiian national dish is made from taro root, a starchy tuber early Hawaiians brought with them from Polynesia.  Poi  is considered a traditional Hawaiian food because it was eaten before the cuisine was influenced by the Western world. Taro is boiled, peeled, and pounded into a paste (the white or pink flesh often turns purple when cooked).

   

This is the old-style haupia, and many in             Malasada, egg-sized balls of yeast dough that
Hawaii still make it from scratch like this.             are deep fried in oil and coated with sugar.

FYI: Haupia is a staple dessert of luau.
It  is creamy and rich like pudding but firm enough to make in a mold, like
jello. For a luau, the haupia is usually poured into large rectangle pans and
then cut into squares and served.

FYI:   lu·au:  /luˈaʊ, ˈluaʊ/ Show Spelled[loo-ou, loo-ou] noun

1. a feast of Hawaiian food, usually held outdoors and usually accompanied by Hawaiian entertainment.

2. a cooked dish of taro leaves, usually prepared with coconut cream and octopus or chicken.

On my very first visit to the beautiful state of Hawaii…

I had this delicious frozen famous Hawaiian treat!

What is there to Drink while in Hawaii…all these drinks can be consumed as “virgin”!

                  Mai Tai                                   Blue Hawaiian                     Hawaiian LavaFlow  

Bacardi light rum                                1 oz light rum                       1 oz light rum
Amber Curacao                                    1 oz blue Curacao                1 oz Malibu Rum
Amaretto                                               1 oz cream of coconut,        2 oz Frozen Strawberries
two limes                                               such as Coco Lopez             2 oz Coconut Cream
splash of grenadine                            2 oz pineapple juice             2 oz unsweetened Pineapple Juice

jigger of passion fruit puree & Pineapple juice         * pineapple & cherries for garnish

On a personal note, I would suggest that all of the above beverages be drunk without any type of alcohol, spirits, or strong liquor. I truly believe that one can enjoy themselves without the use of strong drink.  The best times of your life, including my adventures have been without the use of drinking!

* “Wine is a mocker, Strong drink is a brawler, And whoever is led astray by it is not wise.”
Proverbs 20:1-3   (basically I believe in MODERATION…a drink here and there is fine; but not until you are a Drunk…it’s just not cool)

No matter which island you decide to visit or how you plan to dress, speak, eat or drink…just remember to enjoy yourself and your fellow travel mates, and the friendly people of Hawai’i!

and be sure to shot

A L O H A !

Link

Going on vacations with friends is the best way to travel. For example if you over indulge in any manner you have your friends as your chaperone/safe guard, rather than just an assemblage of party-goers or carousers. Friends can ensure your safety and halt you if you go –just a little too far. Party until daylight, dance the night away into day, then eat savory wedges of Pizza at  3AM.  Only to wake in the morning to revel of music playing for  a parade on the Promenade deck!  Later “dress to the nines” in your best for a dinner in a Dining Room filled with opulence of any Formal affair, white crisp linen table cloths and 3 different forks on your left hand side…you are ready for a festive feast!

FYI: Forks for a Formal Dinner are always set on your LEFT, and the placement of utensils is guided by the menu, the idea being that you use utensils in an “outside in” order.  For example, according to Emily Post “Etiquette + Encyclopedia = Etipedia”,  outermost fork is the Fish Fork, then the middle fork is the Dinner Fork (which will be the largest fork), and then the Salad Fork.  TIP:  If the salad is to be served first, and fish second, then the forks would be arranged (left to right): salad fork, fish fork, dinner fork.

FYI: Dress to the Nines The term “dress to the nines” comes from England when sailing ships were used.  As the ship would come into the harbor all sails would be flying, all nine of  them. And all the sailors would be dressed in dress uniforms lined up on either  side of the ship. The modern connotation is to have put on your finest clothing  and jewelry, almost as if you were being visited by royalty.

Then later relax with old friends and ready to meet new friends in the  Cantilevered Infinity pool .   When night time arrives see what party is on what deck, or visit more than one.

Friends make the vacations, not only fun; but safer.  There is nothing wrong with having a “roaring good time”, but afterall you came to visit the country or island; not to stay and be a permanent resident on a “permanent vacation” (as Connie Francis sang).

Therefore although you want to cut loose and be open to new experiences and new people you should do it using your commonsensical head as well as your spirited heart.

FYI: Cantilvered Pool:  An overhanging pool in relation to the building structure, it is beyond the wall of the structured piece.

FYI: Infinity Pool: An infinity pool is a swimming pool constructed to look like it extends to the horizon with a zero disappearing edge.

             PROS:                                         CONS:

People that will look out for you and have                    No one there for you if you drink too much…         your back in case you drink way too much!                                                                                                                                           
People that will help you in case you spend too          No one there for you when you are need             much!                                                                                   of a small loan…(lol)              
 
The possibility that you may share another group      There is no one to tell you how you “really” look         members’ size, which can increase your wardrobe     in that outfit…(lol)!      exponentially!                                                                                     
 
However, the most important PRO for your CON is that with a group there is someone who loves you and cares enough about you that they will be there to tell you when to “stop” and “slow down”; even if it means you will be upset with them for their straightforwardness, as often occurs when once truth  is spoken…(even truth that hurts to the core).
 

TIP:  Remember vacations are to have fun on; and be fun for ALL that is joining the entire group!  As the Pilot says…LIVE, LAUGH AND LOVE!!

 
 
Link

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Link

Test Time:

Upon returning home from vacation one may go through emotions of loss, regret and longing…

QUESTION:   Why are such feelings evoked when you have just returned from paradise?

ANSWER:   The desire to encroach another wonderfully fabulous vacation.!

APPEND:   Whether you call it a  holiday, get-a-way, retreat, furlough, or sabbatical…it is a time spent resting or doing activities that you choose unlike “punching-in” on the clock, or for your white collars-“signing in” or “swiping in” with your keycards.  Now, it is time to relax, release, and unwind!

Now, for the MULTIPLE CHOICE portion oF the exam…WHERE TO NEXT??????

ESSAY Why Do Anything Else (rhetorical question)…

Link

What to wear of a 7 Day Cruise to the Western Caribbean if you are MALE by Jackelín

Since swimming is going to be one activity that you will engage in quite frequently while in the Caribbean’s; I would suggest that you bring along:

3 Different Swim Wear

1)      Longer Trucks (length hitting your knees.)…perfect for the beaches!

Longer trunks allow you to perform all types of beach side activities like surfing, jet skiing and wake boarding with ease!

2)      Mid-length Trucks (length hitting up to your mid-thigh)…perfect for the pool side!

Select the traditional cut, and colors, from elastic waist band, to draw-string, and try the brand name cooltan where you can get a tan all over (NO visible tan lines)…buy a pair with an animal print to cause a roar at the pool (meowww)!

3)      Shorter truck (Speedo type)…perfect for the hot tub/whirl pool nights.

Pack a short pair that shows off that body you work so hard to achieve…emerge out of the cabana like 007’s Daniel Craig!

**TIP: Most cruise lines have an “Adult Only” section…away from the screaming and splashing ninos!

2.  Get a cover-up to wear on the beaches; when you are not in the water the sun in Caribbeans will be very very hot and tend to burn…so protect yourself!

Purchase a matching cotton polo shirt that compliments some element from you swim trunk, or a white cotton button down shirt, why not try a mens super sexy sarong; like they wear in Hawaii…aloha!

3.  Wear some head gear; if you decide to rock the low cut as most men commonly do…(e.g. Common, Michael Jordan and Pitbull) pack: a Hat, a Cap and Scarf/Bandana.  Trust me you will be glad you did…the brim will keep that blazing sun at bay!

3.  Sunglasses (important to get ones with UVA protection lenses). As your Personal Stylist, I suggest the aviator style, this particular shape frames well with most male strong facial features.  Protect your vision and get relief from eye strain from squinting so much.  Also, you won’t be so obvious peeping at the ladies (lol)!

4. Be sure to pack Swim Goggles (especially if you would like to look underwater in the Caribbean Seas…and that is one thing you would not want to miss). Pack a Beach Towel & Beach Bag to carry your Suntan Lotion/Sunblock, Beach Towel, Bottled Water, and wallet…when swimming at the beach. As with most cruise lines to prevent “stow-a-ways” you need to show your ID or Room Card to re-board the Ship.  Also, although the cruise line provides towels while on board…when you are on the island beaches you may not be allowed to carry them when you leave the ship.

 

5.  Get a pair of flip-flops the type that you place between the big toes, (like the picture to your left), for the beaches…these are easier to rinse off the sand after leaving the beach front.  Also, a pair that you can slip at pool-side (like the picture in the middle)….if you have nice toes, and most groomed men do…so show them off! (Invest in a manicure & pedicure before you sail, cool men with swagger do it ALL the time.

         

…and get an extra pair that is a bit nicer with arch support, like the picture to your right, for those Causal Dinners (they will not be full of sand for the afternoon’s beach swim).

TIP: Get a manicure and pedicure…

since you will be going barefoot quite often you will want to have feet and hands that are appropriate on a quality vacation.

6.  Get some Lip Balm to protect your lips from the sun (get the type with an SPF sunscreen).  Healthy lips look nice…sun burnt, dry cracked lips, not the style for a man on a quality cruise line!  It will be the hottest time of the month so your “saliva“ is NOT going to work to keep them lips looking supple (LOL).

7.  Get sun protection for your face and body….you can still get that dark tan look; but you should  protect yourself from getting burnt and red (not cool).  Getting deep brown and tanned in a healthy manner is not only smart; but aids in the prevention of skin cancer too.

8.  Pack a set of Cleanser, Toner and Moisturizer of your face. (I know you are such a smart guy… so you want to be one of those brotha’s who is wise about their skin STAYING in good condition for years and years).  A man with nice skin, unless he is born with it, did something to…get it and keep it…that way.

Cleanse/Exfoliate                                         Astringent/Tone                            Moisturize/Protect

FYI:  Use quality products…afterall doesn’t your skin deserve it!!

Step 1:   Cleanse/Exfoilate:  Daily Facial Wash/Cleanser –
Preferably, a soap-free product that removes dirt, grime, dead skin cells, pollutants and excess oil-reducing blackheads and shiny spots.  After use, your skin should feel clean and refreshed.

Step 2:    Tone/Astringent:  This clear lotion removes excess oil, cleansing/shaving residue, reducing shine while toning the skin.  By removing excess oil, clogged pores are eliminated and blackheads are prevented.  Toning closes the pores and refreshes the skin.

Step 3:   Moisturize/Protect: Lotion or cream formulas that add moisture to the skin, protecting and conditioning against harsh environments, while assisting with anti-ageing.  After use, your skin should feel smooth, not flakey nor tight.

*TIP: The following two products are used once to three times a week, depending on your skin type, in place of your daily face wash.

Facial Scrub/Exfoliate –  This is similar to a daily wash/cleanser; but, also includes small particles and enzymes that  works to remove built up dirt in the pores and dissolve dead skin cells.  By removing dead skin cells and ingrained dirt that cause blockages, it reduces problems with in-grown hairs.  After use, skin should feel smooth and soft.   These should be used two to three times a week, depending on your skin type, so as not to dry skin out.

Clay Masks – For a truly deep cleanse of your pores, use a mask on your t-zone area.  Masks help reduce excess oil buildup, enhancing your skin tone and texture.

9.  Get a great Body Wash for your Bod (body washes help keeps your skin in good condition:  looking nice, smelling good, and maintains your healthy skin; from the top of your head to the tips of your toes and everywhere in between lol).

 

one the BEST shave creams is from The Body Shop…EVER!

12. Pack a new tooth brush (manual or electrical brush head)…

 

  

According to webmd  You can’t overestimate the importance of good oral hygiene — not only for dental health, but for your overall wellbeing. In fact, gum disease is a major risk factor for the development of serious health conditions, including  heart disease and diabetes.

Also, Numerous scientific studies have been conducted to investigate whether manual or powered toothbrushes are more effective at reducing gum disease and eliminating plaque. A review of nearly 30 studies comparing disposable and electric toothbrushes found that, overall, there was not a significant difference between electric and manual toothbrushes in their ability to remove plaque and prevent gum disease. But, evidence suggests that a certain type of powered toothbrush called a rotation oscillation toothbrush (the bristles go round and round and back and forth) is more effective than manual toothbrushes

FYI:  You should change your tooth-brush whether it is electric or manual every 3 months.

TIPBRUSH YOUR TEETH . . . BEFORE BREAKFAST
Tooth enamel begins to dissolve when the pH in your mouth reaches an acidic 5.5. Since fruit juices can have an even more acidic pH of three, it’s worth brushing before downing them. “If you forget, wait for an hour, by which time the enamel will be tougher,” advises dentist David Cocket.

11.  Pack at least two fragrances

1. Daytime:     Calvin Klein’s Eternity Cologne is a clean, crisp and fresh blend a  refreshing scent for days under the sun. Top Note: Aldehydes, Bergamot, Tarragon Middle Note: Floral Notes, Lavender, Cedar, Glasswort Base Note: Floating Wood, White Amber, Musk, Patchouli.

2. Evenings:     Fahrenheit Cologne by Christian Dior has a fragrant note is a Woody Floral Musk fragrance for men.  Top notes are lavender, mandarin orange, hawthorn, nutmeg flower, cedar, bergamot, chamomile and lemon; middle notes are nutmeg, honeysuckle, carnation, sandalwood, violet leaf, jasmine, lily-of-the-valley and cedar; Base notes are leather, tonka bean, amber, patchouli, musk and vetiver.

12.  Pack deodorant that is water proof, and shows no visible signs that you are armed with deodorant…

p.s. without aluminum in it.

TIP: Finding a deodorant without aluminum can be quite difficult, but it is something you should make an effort to do. If you do not yet understand why aluminum is a toxic substance that can be harmful to the human body, keep reading.

FYI: The presence of aluminum in the body has been linked with various health risks. It is commonly cited that an accumulation  of aluminum in the body is a leading cause of Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, research has demonstrated that aluminum may increase the risk of breast cancer. Aluminum is in fact classed as a neurotoxin – that word alone should indicate that it is not intended to be applied to the body!

TIP:   APPLY FRAGRANCE . . . BEFORE MOISTURISING
“Fragrance tends to last longer on well-hydrated and moisturised skin,” says fragrance expert Roja Dove. He suggests applying the scent first, then the moisturizer later. Try NIVEA FOR MEN Sensitive moisturizer.

TIP:  SCRUB YOUR FACE . . .  THE NIGHT BEFORE SHAVING
“Many men make the mistake of using scrubs just before shaving,” says Sally Penford, of the International Dermal Institute. “But shaving itself exfoliates the skin, so a better idea is to scrub the night before – that way you’ll reap all the benefits but won’t further aggravate your skin in the process.”

TIP:  SHAVE . . . AT LEAST 10 MINUTES AFTER WAKING
Skin is puffy first thing,” says male-grooming expert Jason Shankey. “Give it 10 minutes to settle and for any creasing to subside and you’ll have a smoother surface for shaving. Having woken up properly, you’ll also be more accurate with the blade.”

TIP:   MOISTURISE . . . LAST THING
“Studies have shown that water loss through the skin is greatest at night, so apply moisturiser before bed,” says dermatologist Nick Lowe. “Moisturising is more beneficial then because the cream will be better absorbed in a warm bed.”

WHAT TO WEAR: Rock these looks for most days:

Relaxed light colored shorts and pale colored polo-styled shirts and some short sleeves, a few sleeveless tees, with flip-flops or sandals and sunglasses!

Pack as many pairs of shorts that there are days you will be sailing…after all you will be able to mix-and-math with your various tees.

Since you will sweat your way through the day…pack more tees than shorts…use the “roll” technique to hold as many as possible in your suit cases.

 

a few Graphic tees,  a couple of brightly colored “v neck tees”, a low neck tee for an International look!

   

get the guns ready and pack a few tank tee shirts with a sleeveless tee (bang bang)!

 

pack a 3/4 sleeved baseball tee (represent your home team), and a comfy long sleeved tee as well.

For the Dinners there will be 3 types: On a 7 day Cruise

3 Nights for Causal, 1 Night for Smart Causal, and 2 Nights for Formal

1.   Casual Dinners:

    

PACK: a light weight pattern shirt, a solid colored dressy-feel tee shirt, a Polo-styled shirt.  A khaki long pant and a dark colored light weight pant.  This is the time to bust out the sandals (sorry no flip flops allowed).

2. Smart Casual Dinner:

   

PACK: 1 Sport Coat/Jacket,  a pair of lightly colored pant.  Try the Jeremy Hackett the Mr Classical’s european chic look, a modern cool vest look, and a smart buttoned long-sleeved cotton Shirt with a flat front pant…please pack a belt and matching shoes!

3.   Formal Dinners:

  

PACK: 1 Dark dapper Navy Suit with a matching Jacket a Pant, 2 Silk Shirts that will compliment your Suit and 2 Silk Ties that coordinates with your Shirt (one can be stripped and tones of the most subtle color of your Silk Shirt, the other Tie can be a solid color that is daring and shouts for everyones attention and bring your dress shoes and socks!

EXTRA TIPS:

  • Have single dollars bills handy to tip the individuals carrying your luggage and loading them on the Shuttle Bus (remember you can “ check-in” 2 free pieces onboard  and have  1 “carry-on” …TSA approved of course)  according to Southwest Airlines.
  •  Bring gum to chew for the decompression on board the Airplane.
  • Bring extra cash to buy your family and friends’ souvenirs (…Let your memories be theirs too).  I would suggest to bring cash…since Credit Card use may be a bit risky.
  •  Bring a digital camera to take lots of pictures and videos (get a Memory card the standard card is capable of storing a wide range of data files, such as audio and video clips, images, and text documents.  In general, the memory card makes use of flash memory in order to maintain the integrity of the files loaded onto the card.  Now you can get one  from 2 to one with 64GB (gigabyte) of storage capacity (that  is like 12,230 photos or 480 minutes of video taping or 545 hours and 8 minutes.
  • Binoculars are another often forgotten, yet indispensable travel item. Be sure to pack a pair for magnified excitement onboard and onshore.
  • Your cell phone will probably not work or the price of sending and receiving messages may be VERY expensive so check with your Cell carrier.
  • Check with your Banking Institution to inform them you are on an “international vacation”….for your protection, some banks place a hold on your card as “theft protection” when they detect unusual spending.
  • You may become ill from eating strange exotic foods and partying the night away; so pack: Alka-Seltzer, Pepto-Bismol, Milk of Magnesia and Aleve Pain Reliever…no time to take a night off to recuperate!
  • I am not sure what you are looking for on this cruise so bring “protection” too (after all you some of you are a single man, not currently in a committed relationships,  remember you are going to locations with mucho attractive women…so be prepared just in case you may want to sample the taste of the local cuisine). Trojan man!
  • Bring one of those Travel Toilette Bags (comb, toothbrush, nail clippers, razor, file, scissors (less than 4”) etc.; that will make you all the more prepared when it is your turn to get ready in the morning or for Dinner, and not  inconvenient your Cabin mate who you are sharing a room and only 1 compact bathroom.
  • Purchase s few of those Luggage Tags (this will be invaluable if your bags are lost or misdirected). While you are at it, get a Passport Cover (this makes it more difficult to misplace and easier to identify in a pile).
  • Take a picture of your packed suitcase and keep all receipts of purchases (for insurance purpose or in case you need to file a claim with the Airline).  Place a sheet of paper of your final destination inside of your suitcase, to make it easier to get it to you in case of lost luggage!

….Please take the advantage of these suggestions that I have offered about these tips…I am living proof that it can help make your vacations that more stress-free (after all vacations are a time to de-stress and have good times; which will make wonderful memories with family, old friends, and the new ones you are sure to meet).

Most importantly bring your fun personality and warm smile.  There may be things that do not go as planned while cruising or someone may get you irritated at times…but enjoy the ride while enjoying your life…life can be short and fleeting!.  Hey, book an Excursion (SOMETHING DIFFERENT) go on the same one as your friends and group, this is a once in a life time experience so experience it to the fullest!!!!  ….as they French would say Bon Voyage!

 FYI: Bon Voyage is a French phrase borrowed into English meaning, literally, “good journey, and usually translated as meaning “have a good trip”!

 

LAST TIP…PLEASE DO NOT PEGGED TO BE THE “COMPLAINER” OF THE GROUP…EVERYTHING DOES NOT ALWAYS GO AS PLANNED AND THERE MAY BE FOODS, DRINKS AND ACTIVITIES YOU DO NOT LIKE OR CARE FOR;  BUT YOU DO NOT WANT OTHER COMPLAINING, THAT YOU COMPLAIN TOO MUCH (AND TRUST ME THEY WILL…) last last tip: if you love complaining it is suggested that you go on a vacation planned, booked, and coordinated “by yourself”…that way it will ALL be perfect!…LOLOLOL